As we investigate the commands of the Lord Jesus we are impelled toward two things: love God and love others. And it was this second command that Jesus laboured on during his final discourse to the disciples, as it is recorded for us in the Gospel of John, chapters 13–17 (John 13:34; 15:13; 15:17, etc).
Jesus’ command could be distilled to this: love one another, and in doing so, you love God.
We are all accountable to God to love others. It really does not matter how much or how little of love we receive. We will only be judged, in the Final Analysis, by what we, alone, did and did not do. It pays an eternal worth of reward to look critically at the self and not look critically so much at others.
Such an expanse of theology it is to love our fellow human beings.
Nothing will test us and our resolve of love for God more than remaining committed to loving other people, because God will always put in our way people who are difficult to love, because God is interested in our character growth. Character growth doesn’t occur in a seedbed of comfortable conditions. Character growth, at least in human beings, occurs through trial and difficulty, as we embrace God in and through it.
In just the same way God puts us in the path of those who find us difficult to love. We might think, “What is so wrong with them that they can’t see our good side?” Everybody else is thinking the same thing. We all see our good side. The challenge of life is to see others’ good sides.
How else are we and they to learn patience and compassion and kindness if we are never tempted to become angry, uncaring, or greedy? Of course we will fail. We will sound off at people and fail to love them. We will abandon our care of them and, in that, fail to love. We will be selfish and greedy. We will fail to love.
But as our concern is piqued and stimulated as we reflect on Jesus’ command – “love one another” – we will improve. Our character will gradually be honed. More and more we will be able to see that we are accountable to God to love others, and we will draw on this empowerment to do just that.
When we love others we feel God’s love for us, and ever more so when they are difficult to love.
We are accountable to God to love others. This, in sum, is the meaning of life. To grasp this wisdom, applying it to our lives, is the secret to life.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.