“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another"
~ John 13:35
Love is a concept promoted by Christians. It is a thing acknowledged by atheists and agnostics. Something every man, woman, and child strives to obtain every day. Love is something we all know about and all desire. But so often it seems to be the most difficult thing for us to practice.
As Christians, we have no excuse for not knowing what love is. First Corinthians chapter 13 tells us in no uncertain terms. And Christ tells us in John 13 that the world will know that we belong to Jesus if we practice this love. But how often do we truly think of those two scriptures as one command? How often do we piece together the “how?” and the “what?” of love in our own lives?
The results of doing so present a clearly defined, but difficult life. If we combine 1st Corinthians 13 and John 13, what would our lives look like? How would people come to recognize Christians?
Well, they would know us by our patience. They would know that we are Christians by our contentment, modesty, and humility. They would recognize us, for we would not be rude. We would seek the best for others, be difficult to make angry, and refuse to keep count of how many times we've been hurt. They would know us because evil makes us sad, and truth makes us happy. They would know us because we protect the defenseless and we do not live in suspicion of others. They would know us by our hope. They would know us by our perseverance.
That is what love looks like. Those should be the marks of Christ’s disciples.
Oftentimes when the world hears “Christian” – they do not think of this love. They think of rules. They think of stingy, bad-tippers, who will judge you and not be fair. That might not be you. But it’s still your responsibility to change what the world thinks of Christians. It’s still your responsibility to demonstrate that radical love Paul described to the Corinthians.
Because then, one by one, people might start to know Jesus a little better. Because then, one by one, we could really reach the world with this radical, biblical, Christ-like love.