“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
By this, we are told.
“This” is the identifying marker of Christ’s disciple.
So, what is “This”?
That you love one another.
It’s not that truth doesn’t matter. It’s just that truth matters when it is revealed, told, and shared in love.
There’s a huge difference. Leonard Sweet says, “Too many Christians want to change the world not because they love the world but because they hate the world.”
If the people we are trying to share Christ’s truth with know and perceive that do so because we hate who they are and what they are, truth may be uttered but that truth will never change anyone. Such truth will only revile and repudiate the very Christ we’re trying to share.
As I listen to the ways Christians speak about BLM, gun control, mask mandates, Trump and the elections, I can’t help but wonder if Leonard Sweet is right.
It’s not that truth is not important. It’s just love is even more important.
Love doesn’t cancel out truth. Love comes alongside truth to make truth even more compelling.
As many of you know, there were multiple Greek words that are translated as love in the English. Out of all the words, the word agape – unconditional love – is a love that we are only capable of living when Christ enables us to do so. Agape is the way God loves us – unconditionally, steadfastly, sacrificially.
Guess what word for love is in our verse of the day. Yup. Agape.
Of course we share Christ’s truth. And, we share Christ’s truth in Christ’s love.
When the church is known for the way she loves, the people who don’t know Jesus and people who disagree with us are ready and open to receive Christ’s truth.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”