RPN Executive Director Pastor Jay Richmond
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35 (ESV)
The reason we do something may be just as important as actually doing it. I remember a story about a husband who brought flowers and candy home to his wife for no apparent reason. She was touched, taken aback, overwhelmed and cried at her husband's gesture of love. Her husband ruined everything by then saying he was doing what he had made a commitment to do at his Saturday men's group. He had been told he should do this during the following week, and was now able to scratch the task off his list.
Jesus commanded us to do one thing, and one thing only: to love one another as He has loved us. The intended result was that people, both believers and non-believers, would know that we were His disciples. I often wonder what we (or maybe just me), as proclaimed disciple(s) of Jesus, communicate concerning our relationship to Jesus.
The following is a true story. On an outing with my Dad, I asked him to stop by our local card shop, since I wanted to pick up a Mother’s Day card for my mom. Dad said it was a good idea, and asked me to pick up one for him also. Being the obedient son that I am, I bought one for him, too. (Bad move, Jay, bad move!) We both signed our cards and gave them to Mom. She loved my card, hugged and kissed me. When she opened Dad's card, she actually broke down crying and said, “Oh John, this is the card I’ve always hoped for!” Dad had an embarrassed look on his face, and proceeded to tell Mom that I had actually picked out the card. Her joy quickly left as she began to yell at both Dad and me. She was mad. Mom was hurt; although Dad gave her a card, was his heart really in it?
When Jesus prayed for us, he prayed for our unity. It is because of this unity that the unsaved will believe that Jesus was sent. Unity is not uniformity. Rather, it is built on love - the love we have for each other because of our Father's love for us. The question to be asked is “Why don’t unbelievers believe?”. Do we really love one another as Jesus commanded?