A drawing I did for my husband a couple of weeks ago.
Last Sunday at church, my pastor read aloud from John, chapter 13. When he read verses 34 and 35, I mentally froze. It says,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
So, I've heard this a thousand times in the past. Love. Love. Love. Wonderful, wondrous, love. I love him, I love her. I love chocolate.
Yet, sitting in that pew on Sunday, I felt befuddled (Yes, I actually felt befuddled. Don't you love S.A.T. words?). I felt convicted. I felt challenged. Jesus said people will know His disciples not by their Mali Music and Michael W. Smith mp3s. Not by the dangling crosses around their necks. Not by those little Jesus fish stuck on their bumpers, either. Nope. They would be known by their love.
Four years ago, I read the very enlightening and informative "unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters” by David Kinnamon and Gabe Lyons. I wrote then:
“unChristian” polls thousands of nonbelievers (atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, etc), with special emphasis on people between the ages of 16-29, to find out how they view adherents of our faith. The results? Overwhelmingly negative. While this is no shocker, what was surprising for me as a Christian reader is just how negatively we are viewed. Christians are homophobic, hypocritical, too disconnected and not spiritual enough. Unfortunately, as someone on the inside, I could relate to some of the “outsiders” complaints. And it’s not just me who feels some negativity towards my own faith; quite a few of my fellow young Christians also feel some ambivalence towards today’s Christianity. While my view of Jesus has never faltered, I have been quite put off a number of times by other Christ followers.
Recently, I watched the documentary "LORD, Save Us From Your Followers" which touches on the same themes.
Okay, so perhaps you're thinking, "But those people are in the world. They don't know Jesus! They don't know love!" Maybe. But Jesus' words should apply all the more. He said "everyone", not just your fellow small group attendees. It bears repeating: "E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E" will know Jesus' disciples by their love.
So, in the words of the Black Eyed Peas, "Where is the Love"? A challenge to you all: What simple act can you do today to show love? Share your random acts of love in the comments!
Alisha De Freitas blogs at East of Eden.