1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
I have previously shared with you my affinity for "Chick Flicks". On my personal list of favorites is Sleepless in Seattle. This movie centers around a widowed young father, Sam, and his son, Jonah. Jonah gets the enlightened idea to phone into a national pop psychology radio radio program to get advice about his father's lack of sleeping. The host immediately dons Sam "Sleepless in Seattle". Once he's cajoled into talking on the phone, the radio host asks him, "What was so special about your wife?"
Immediately he snaps back, "How long is your program?"
Sam is right. Love can be quite complex. Gary Chapman attempted to help us understand it by categorizing it into five languages. God helped to clarify with three different Greek words being used in the New Testament to describe it. Yet "true love" remains an elusive pursuit for many in the modern day church.
This morning I am reading John 13:21-38. This passage describes the second half of the events that have come to be known as The Last Supper. Jesus announces that one of them will soon betray Him and after some inquiry Jesus singles Judas out as the one. Once Judas leaves, Jesus gives his closest followers a new commandment (Verses 34-35). Those verses are my focus this morning. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Jesus made it clear that this is a vital teaching. It seems to me that in the modern day Southern church Christian love is still best expressed in a casserole. We do a fairly good job at demonstrating love at times of great celebration, such as a birth or times of desperate mourning, such as a death. What about all those days in between? Is there no way to express love then?
When I first began to grow as a Christian God blessed me with a wonderful Christian friend. As a matter of fact, I am sitting in her living room as I write this. She showed me many extraordinary things about love just by living her ordinary life.
- Ask Questions About the Other Person - In this world where our measuring stick is bank accounts and success, we are often tempted to talk abundantly about ourselves, our children, our activities, etc. My friend doesn't do that. She asks you insightful, thought-provoking questions about yourself and your life. I never fail to feel loved when I talk to her.
- Notice Unnoticed People - Both of my older children have remarked to me how much they like being around my friend. She makes a special effort to include even children in conversation and in plans. She has shared shoes with my Hannah, shared her love of shopping with my Hayleigh, shared her toys with my Clara and her heart with my Rynnie. Not only does she love my kids but she cherishes their individuality and gives them the freedom to be themselves. I never feel pressured to be anyone but myself when I talk to her.
- Give Generously - While most people are attempting to get, my friend is constantly giving. Whether it's passing gently used decorations to a friend whose home could use an update or helping her children raise money for "Idol Gives Back", she consistently thinks of those around her. Not once have I heard her complain or frankly even really mention the things she's doing for others but it is a constant pattern in her life. She gives without an expectation of return and releases her love and possessions with absolute freedom. I never feel like our friendship is based on a bartering system or that I "owe" her anything.