Lenten Devotional: Wednesday, March 4

by Joe Dennis
March 4, 2015

John 13:34-35 – 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.

One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received was from a student who often confided in me. One day I asked her why she felt so comfortable to talk to me. “You’re a really good Christian,” she said.

At first glance, I may not appear to be a Christian. I’ve been known to cuss. I enjoy heavy metal music and gangster rap. I watch R-rated movies. I’ll regularly indulge in a beer or a glass of wine … or both. And I certainly don’t proselytize. I would not make a good Baptist.

But she knew I was a Christian, she said, because of the love I demonstrate for others.

We will work with each other. We will work side by side.
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.
Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
–Church Hymn, Peter Scholtes, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”

In every interaction, I try to be Christian through my love, looking at every person as a child of God. I’ve worked really hard at practicing love, especially in times when showing love is difficult: when a client is yelling at me over how I handled a job, when another person hurts (physically or emotionally) a family member, or when the customer service representative has consistently messed up my situation. Sometimes this love can be interpreted as being weak. I disagree. It’s easy to show love when it is being reciprocated. But you have to be strong to show love when societal norms are to demonstrate the opposite. Was Jesus weak when — dying on the cross — he showed love by forgiving his tormentors?

God has empowered us with the ability to forgive, allowing us the capability to love. Loving others is entirely in our power, yet it can be one of the most difficult things we attempt. Do we show love for the leaders of “the other” political party? Do we show love for our personal oppressors? Do we show love for criminals? Do we show love for members of ISIS?

Prayer: God, thank you for loving us unconditionally. Please help us love others as you love us. Help us forgive those who have hurt us. And let others be so inspired by our love, that they reciprocate it in their own lives. Amen.