In John 13 Jesus gave us a new commandment. “Love one another”. It’s the only commandment he gave us. It’s pretty important.
In fact, Jesus said that when the world sees how we love one another they will realize that we are his disciples.
Not when they see the size of our mega-church, or how prosperous we are, or even how great our music is. When they see how much we love one another.
In Matthew 22 Jesus summed up “The Law” in two statements. Love God. Love one another. Do both of those, and you have satisfied the law.
And, generally, as we read the Bible and build up “the big picture” in our heads… It seems that in Old Testament times, God’s dealing with man had more of an emphasis on the first… Love God.
But in New Testament times, (i.e., now), God seems to be dealing with us in a different way. Now his emphasis is on the second… love one another.
God has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us and help us choose wisely, to live in his way. He wants us to focus particularly on one thing… love one another.
I have seen churches where they have come to this realization and really tried to love one another. It was a beautiful thing.
But it’s not easy.
And even if we come to this realization and want to love one another. How do we do that? What does that mean?
Some time ago now, Gary Chapman wrote a book called “Five Love Languages”. If you have never read it. Get one. Read it. This book is fundamental if you want to love others.
In the book he describes 5 “languages” or styles of feeling loved.
See the separate article on Love Languages
for more detail.
Now, if, for example, your love language is Gifts, but I try to show you love by Acts of Service… You will not understand what I am saying. I will be saying “I love you” but you won’t understand it.
If your language is Gifts, and I want to show you love, I need to give you a gift.
Just like, if you only speak English and I say 愛するよ。You just won’t understand what I’m saying.
This can revolutionise your church. Not just to love one another, but to do it in the language of the one being loved.
Find the Gifts people in your church and give them gifts. (It doesn’t have to be expensive, but wrap it nicely, make some effort).
Find the Quality Time people in your church and spend time with them focussed on doing what they love doing. (Not just with them, but focus on them).
Find the Acts of Service people and do something for them. (This one is tough because these people really struggle to let others do things for them. Maybe help them do something).
Find the Physical Touch people in your church and give them a cuddle or a pat on the shoulder. (In the separate article on Love Languages
, I talk about how Chapman’s “Physical Touch” language may be more about intimacy and not just touch).
Find the Words of Encouragement people in your church and compliment them on something. (But make sure it’s true, and that you mean it).
Loving one another (in their language) is fundamental to being a successful church. You have to make this happen.