Over the past few weeks, we have been reading Tom Holladay's Relationship Principles of Jesus as a church. I have learned and relearned some amazing and applicable truths about how important relationships are to Jesus. By far, the most life-changing truth I learned, and really began to understand, was the simple commandment Jesus gives: "Love one another."
Love one another. I've heard these words probably since before I could understand them. They've been taught by Sunday School teachers, preached from the pulpit, and read over and over in a thousand devotional books. It was always easy for me to think I knew - and lived - what those words meant. I mean, loving others is easy, right? You don't go out of your way to be mean, don't talk about friends behind their backs, etc. I think my definition of loving others was more like a "what not to do" list.
Through reading this book, I began to really see and understand what it means to love others. To act in love. To be loving. To really, sincerely, genuinely apply the Golden Rule. To actually "do to others what you'd want them to do to you". To think of others before I think of myself, and to do so with a genuine love for them, and concern for their well-being, and their walk with God.
I have been deeply encouraged as I've walked through this learning process over the past few weeks. I've seen so much undeniable evidence that it truly is God's kindness (and His lovingness) that brings people to repentance. Why have I not been quicker to show such love and kindness to those around me?! I'm saddened to think of all of the opportunities that I've missed, but SO excited to move forward, walking in this new Jesus-empowered-love toward those He places around me!