Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8 ESV)
Today my 4-year-old son, Andrew, met his cousins for the first time. Having been recently adopted from Thailand, my little boy is adjusting to the inter-personal protocol expected by his peers. I was sitting in a nearby room at my in-laws’ home when I heard some commotion from the pack of cousins in the hallway. After they established that Andrew had done something they didn’t like, one of the cousins said this:
“Andrew is one of us now since he is our new cousin. We need to be nice to him.”
Out of the mouth of babes.
Life abounds with opportunities to be frustrated by fellow believers. Christians who we decide should know better struggle with addictions, make wrong choices, fail their commitments, and hurt our feelings. Churches are full of believers who have been disappointed by other believers.
Yet the Bible is clear.
“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 reality is this: our love is only worth as much as it costs us to demonstrate it. It is easy to say we love those we worship with until they frustrate us. As soon as it costs us something to love that person–forgiveness, mercy, patience–we aren’t sure it’s worth it. But, like my son’s cousin in the hallway this afternoon, we should make the decision to say of our brothers and sisters in Christ:
“_________ is one of us now since he is in the family of God. We need to be nice to him.”
Imagine how we could revolutionize the world if we shared this conviction.
Photo by AmandaRaeK