“I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.”
2 John 1:4-6 MSG
Nothing new here. Just a friendly reminder. Repetition of the original charter. A repeat of the basic Magna Carta of Christianity. The essence of being a follower of Jesus Christ is that we love each other. That we conduct our lives in love. Live lovingly. Lovingly we live. Let’s look at all three of these words: love each other.
Love. Chip Ingram defines Love as “giving another person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost.” A more astute theological definition of love is “his holy disposition toward all that He has created that compels Him to express unconditional affection and selective correction to provide the highest and best quality of existence both now and forever for the objects of his love.” Authentic love is others focused and self giving. A self-sacrificing love continues to cost us emotional capital. The essence is the good of the receiver to the disadvantage of the giver, however what you cannot measure is what the giver receives as a consequence of self-sacrificing, others-focused love. It’s a brand new set of glasses and way of life that considers the needs of others as more important than my needs. It continually asks the question, “How can I help?“ What do they need right now that I might be able to provide at least in part? And the bifocal view is towards those outside of us receiving at our expense. I’ve always been intrigued with King David’s statement that he “would not offer until the Lord that which cost him nothing.“ Love should cost me something. It is free to the recipient but expensive to the initiator. Likewise, forgiveness requires that I release the debt. It cost me something but the return is incalculable. Love.
Each. Every. Individualized. Personalized. Made to order. Handcrafted. One of a kind. Unique. our love must be focused on the individual in front of us. We love them single file. Single file love. One person at a time. Love this one now with no regard to the next one. This requires me to take an interest and to see from where they sit and where they stand. Love. Each. Love each.
Other. Somebody other than me. Different than me. A different perspective. Different background. Different vantage point. Different way of seeing. Reverse the lens. Look at things from their perspective. A perspective other than me and mine. Their point of view. Their vantage point. Their wants. Their perspectives. Their needs. Other.
Love. Each. Other. Love each other. Just a review of the command… You might call it a command review. I did.