“Love one another”, Jesus said.
These words from a children’s song sound so simple but are, in reality, a really hard thing to do. Sure it’s easy to love my husband, my kids, my friends, but not so easy to love strangers, or difficult people. But as Christians, and as I so often tell my kids, that is exactly what we are commanded to do. Lately God has laid this command on my heart.
At work not so long ago I had an encounter with a customer who was complaining about our prices. That I could handle, as I know some people just don’t see the value in what we do and don’t want to pay for it. I kept my cool. Then she began attacking the character of the business and as part of the family that owns the business, I took it very personally. I began to argue with her and engage in conduct unbecoming a Christian. She finally left, and I went on venting to those around me. A little while later I was talking to someone about having to miss church the next day and he joked that I was a bad Christian. I defended myself by saying, “But I love Jesus.” Even as I said those words I remembered that difficult customer. How could I say I loved Jesus if I wasn’t following His command to love one another? In the Bible we are taught that above all we are to love God with our whole heart, and after that, love our neighbors as ourselves. The way I had interacted with that customer was not loving. So what should my encounter with her have looked like? Fortunately for me, God left a little description in His Word, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 which says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
It is still a daily struggle for me to interact with others with 1 Corinthians 13 in mind. My human nature is not patient, kind, loving, or any of that stuff, but my Savior is all of those things and He has empowered me with His Holy Spirit to become what He has called me to be and to love others the way He loves me.