Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (NIV).
We who participate in social media would do well to remember this verse. Are you, like me, guilty of not loving your fellow man on Facebook, Twitter, or some other program, especially when they disagree with you? Are you, like me, guilty of forgetting that it was God Himself who taught us how to love each other?
We would do well to emulate the Thessalonians. The Thessalonians took Paul’s instruction to heart, listening when he told them how God wanted them to honor Him with their sexuality and their other habits. More than even that, they listened when Paul told them that God wanted them to love each other selflessly, completely, shamelessly. Share with all; care for everyone; listen before speaking; seek understanding; show compassion. Paul taught the Thessalonians to love each other completely the way God loved them.
Yet even better than that, we’d do well to emulate Jesus, who John quoted (in 13:34) as saying “a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.” It wasn’t a request; it wasn’t a suggestion: it was a COMMAND. A directive, an order. Jesus didn’t do his best R. Lee Ermey (rest in peace, Gunney) and bark out the order. Instead, he gave this command near the end of the Last Supper, the most personal moment of His life. Jesus told His friends that He wanted them to do for others what He had done for them. Love fully, love forgivingly, love from the heart, share the love that God gave them so that others will know it, too. To truly be His followers, this was something they had to do, would feel compelled to do.
Why do this? Jesus knew His Spirit would reside in and live through the lives of His friends. Jesus’ Spirit can only live in a welcoming heart, and a welcoming heart can’t be welcoming without love. If we love each other, we are living out the fruits of that Spirit, and God will shine through us. Our lives will thrive because of that.
Paul didn’t need to write to his friends to remind them of these things. Even in an age of barbarism they knew how to love the way Jesus did. But, if you think about it, WE need to hear this lesson over and over. We need to be reminded of it, clinging to it, and constantly taught how to do it because all too often we forget.
For further reading: Romans 12:10, John 6:45, John 13:34, 1 Thessalonians 4:10.
My Lord Jesus, I praise You for Your gracious love, Your saving love. Teach me again, today, how to love the way you do for my friends and fellow man.