Read: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
Reflect: A couple of years ago, I had an argument with a family member and we stopped talking to each other for a while. Rather than loving, forgiving, extending grace, and reconciling, my heart was hardened. For almost two years, I withdrew from the relationship and became resentful.
Last year I began to pray for this relationship, and I asked God to help me see my family member the way he sees her. I also confessed my feelings to my growth group, and they began to pray for me. Things didn’t change overnight, but God began to soften my heart.
A few months ago, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit, and I knew it was time to apologize and reconcile. I mustered some courage, and I asked my family member out to lunch. With trembling hands and a shaking voice, I held my sister’s hands and asked her for forgiveness. It was hard. But the moment we extended forgiveness to each other, we hugged, began to cry, and the healing of our relationship began.
I continue to learn that in order to love others, I don’t have to agree with their thoughts, opinions, decisions, or lifestyles. As a Christ follower, God has commanded me to love others the way he loves us—freely and without judgment. This is how others will know we are his disciples.
React: Is there someone in your life who is hard for you to love right now? What would your life look like if you were to love that person the way God loves you?
Pray: Father God, help me see others the way you see them. Help me remember that your great love has been freely given to me, and I must freely give it to others.