There is nothing more powerful than the words of Jesus Christ: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. These words set the biblical standard high and holds each of us to immediate accountability in all of our relationships. When these words are disobeyed in any way, the Holy Spirit convicts us instantly.
Between the betrayal of Judas Iscariot and the forecast of the denials of Peter, Jesus declared these profound words: I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34–35).
Four times in these two verses Jesus calls us to love. One action alone lets everyone know we are Christ-followers: Love One Another.
Love, appearing forty-four times from John 13 to John 21, is the key theme in Jesus’s farewell to His disciples. Jesus’s prayer for unity in John 17 for His disciples, and the Church today, was driven by His burden of love for us.
When God and people are valued in the highest manner, then we will value all relationships. The more we value our relationship to God, the more we will value our relationships with others.
More than thirty years ago, I made a decision that has freed me all of these years. Regardless of how others treat me, or what they may say about me, or even write about me, I never let anyone outside of my circle of love. I challenge all Southern Baptists: Never let anyone outside of your circle of love.
Treating other people like trash may be vogue in our culture, but it is not Christian. Demeaning the value of someone publicly may light up the social media world or become breaking news across the nation, but it is not Christian and it is just not right.
When Jesus said, I give you a new command—new means new and fresh in kind, in experience. He was pointing to His death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Simply put: When you belong to Jesus, you belong to love. Love is the supreme test in all relationships. Love is the perfect tense of live—if you do not love, you do not live, really live!
We mistakenly think we are known by our creeds, songs, doctrine, knowledge, achievements, dress, appearance. Jesus says we are known by our love.
When injured by others, we must decide if we will choose Love and forgiveness? Love and restitution? Love and healing? Love and unity? Love and a future that is transformed by the power of unconditional love? When we belong to Jesus, we belong to love. Love one another!
Join me in praying for a baptism of Love by the Holy Spirit that will immerse every Southern Baptist church, every Southern Baptist pastor, every Southern Baptist member, impacting every community, and sweeping across America and the world!
Ronnie Floyd is president and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.