“A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 (KJV)
Agape love requires that we treat others with kindness and consideration. It does not allow us to act with rudeness or meanness or spite. In this passage, we also learn that agape demands even more than this: we must love one another the way Jesus has loved us. That kind of love is a self-sacrificing love that ultimately led Him to die on the cross for our sakes.
When a friend betrays your confidence or hurts your feelings, the test of Christian character will be whether you seek revenge or choose to overlook how he or she has wronged you.
Love is not a warm feeling of affection. Love is a decision, a commitment, an action. To love another is to work for that person’s best interests in spite of how that person may respond. God sent Jesus to die for all people, even though He knew that most would reject His salvation. Still He loved–and loves–them all.
We can practice love first by what we do not do. We can refuse to retaliate when we are wronged. Returning evil for evil only escalates the conflict. But we need to look for active ways to express love as well.
“The One who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed–these are the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen.”
Matthew 13:37-43 (HCSB)