Read: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (NLT)
Reflect: The church I grew up in was not like Eastlake Church. It was not an inviting environment for the “imperfect.” There was judgment and whispers from the congregation. It may have made you want to be a better person, but not because God wants the best version of you, but because you didn’t want to be talked about. You were accepted only if you were “good enough” in the eyes of others.
This is completely opposite of the teachings of Jesus. He commands us simply to love one another as he loves us so that everyone will know that we are his disciples. It is important to remember that the people we are called to love are imperfect, just like you and I! Jesus tells us that others will know that we are his disciples by how we love one another. As people see the love between Christians, they will be drawn to the source of our love, Jesus our Savior. What an effective way to share the gospel of Jesus!
Sadly, the message that gets sent to non-believers from within the church is not always one of love and acceptance. Oftentimes, the message that gets sent is one of judgment and ridicule. It’s one that speaks “you must have it all together before you are welcome” or “only perfect people are allowed” or even worse, “we are better than you.” Imagine how many more people might come to know Jesus if they felt loved and accepted just as they are: imperfect sinners like the rest of us.
React: Who can you show Christ’s unconditional love to this week in a real and tangible way?
Pray: Father God, help me to show a genuine love and acceptance to those around me. Take away any pride that is keeping me from carrying out your mission.