A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 13:34-35
This week has reminded me again how important it is that we have connection with other believers. For some years I have been fascinated by all the times the New Testament uses the phrase “one another.” In the New King James Version, it’s over 50. That seems important to me. In the verses above, we are told to love one another with the sacrificial, gracious love that Christ showed us. That is the singular commandment of the New Creation. Here’s a list of the other verses where that phrase is referenced:
- John 15:12. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
- John 15:17. These things I command you, that you love one another.
- Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
- 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
- 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
- 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.”
- 1 John 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
- 1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
- 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
- 1 John 4:11-12 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
- 2 John 1:5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.
I think you get the point. Now, all these verses were written to believers, not to the world. The thing that strikes me on this beautiful Sunday, is that in order to demonstrate this love, I have to have “an other.” To sit in my easy chair and rhapsodize on how much I love you is quite easy. I don’t have to put up with you. That kind of love is purely theoretical. Real love requires gathering with the “anothers” in my community of faith and loving them when they’re irritating, whiney, judgmental, critical, and unfaithful. Growing in love, demonstrating love – you can’t have one without an other. See you there!