"Love One Another" - Real Verse Meaning and Application
- Carrie Lowrance Crosswalk Contributor
- 2019 5 Aug
"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34
Jesus gave this command in the hours before his crucifixion. He told his disciples that the time had come for him to leave them. Jesus said to them and the Jewish leaders that even though they would search for him, they could not go to him. Then he gave them the command to love one another as he loved them.
Jesus Christ is the bearer of ultimate love. He reveals to us what love is through his life, death, and resurrection. Our greatest act as a Christian who is following in obedience is to act through love to one another.
What Does It Truly Mean to "Love One Another"
We live in a world where jealousy, envy, and comparison trump most everything else. It seems the most important thing is how many followers we have, how we can destroy others to get ahead or to be mean in general, and how we are going to get the latest and most significant thing to outdo our neighbors or friends. The notion of love, empathy, and compassion has gone by the wayside.
John Gill's Exposition on the Bible explains:
love one another:
as brethren in the same family, children of the same Father, and fellow disciples with each other; by keeping and agreeing together, praying one for another, bearing one another's burdens, forbearing and forgiving one another, admonishing each other, and building up one another in faith and holiness: and this he calls "a new commandment"; that is, a very excellent one; as a "new name", and a "new song", denote excellent ones...
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another;
than which, nothing can, or should, more strongly engage to it: as Christ has loved his people freely, notwithstanding all their unworthiness and ungratefulness, so should they love one another, though there may be many things in them observable, which are disagreeable; as Christ loves all his children without any distinction, so should they love one another, whether poor or rich, weaker or stronger, lesser or greater believers; and as Christ loves them not in word only, but in deed and in truth, so should they love one another with a pure heart fervently, and by love serve one another.
Robertson's Word Pictures Commentary tells us that "the measure of our love for one another is set by Christ's love for us"
Here are some very practical application steps for John 13:34 with 10 ways we can "Love One Another" well:
1. Check on your Christian neighbors
If you have elderly Christian neighbors, check on them once or twice a week or take them a meal. If they need to run an errand either take them or offer to do it yourself. Offer to drive them to church or Bible study at someone’s house.
2. Help a friend plan a church event
Has one of your friends volunteered for the church bake sale, garage sale, or to host a dinner for church speaking guests? Offer to help them organize the event or find volunteers and donations for the garage sale. You can also offer to help cook and serve at the dinner or bake goodies for the bake sale.
3. Host a friend for the night
Do you have a friend who is having a difficult time? Offer to have them spend the night at your house to get away from it all. You can spend your evening in Bible study and prayer, watching a Christian movie, or something else that gets their mind off things. You can also share a favorite dinner or munch on your favorite snacks and beverages.
If you have a friend who needs help cleaning out their garage for the church garage sale or cleaning their house before the mission family they are hosting arrives, volunteer to help. If they volunteer at a Christian based organization, offer to join them for a day. They will appreciate the help, and your bond will grow closer.
5. Do a favor
Is your friend having a particularly hectic day and you have some extra time? Offer to walk their dog in the afternoon or pick up their dry cleaning or get their kids from school.
“And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
6. Spend some time in prayer
It’s easy for all of us to get busy and send up a “blanket” or “list” prayer. Set aside some time for specific, strategic prayer every day. Pray for your friends’ particular situations with power and purpose.
Also, think about other Christians that need powerful prayer. Some examples are Christians in the military and even those who face persecution in foreign countries. Christians that are in prison also need lots of prayers. It doesn’t matter if you know someone in this situation personally or not. Prayer is one of the best ways we can love others well.
7. Take a meal
If you have a member of your church that is recovering from an illness or a surgery, put out a sign-up sheet so people can take meals over on rotating nights. This way, the family won’t feel overwhelmed in trying to cook and take care of a loved one. They will also feel well loved.
8. Write a letter
Sit down and think about all the reasons why you love your friend. Let them know how glad you are that God brought them into your life. Add some words of encouragement – we all need these in the good and bad times. Then either write or type them a letter. Stick it in an envelope and leave it somewhere that they will find it by accident. They will appreciate your heartfelt words and be glad to have a token of your love that they can read over and over again.
9. Forgive someone
If someone has hurt you don’t hold a grudge. No matter how bad the pain is. Matthew 11:25 states, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too.” Jesus doesn’t want us to fight and hold things against each other; instead, he wants us to live peacefully with each other. In Ephesians 5:21-6:4, Paul talks about wives submitting to their husbands and children obeying their parents. In essence, families should respect each other and live together peacefully. This applies to both the family of Christ and our own families as well.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
10. Practice radically ordinary hospitality
I recently read a book called The Gospel Comes with a House Key, and it made a significant impression on me. It talks about the concept of radically ordinary hospitality. What does this mean? In a nutshell, it means opening your house to everyone, strangers and Christian friends alike.
It’s the kind of hospitality that turns strangers into neighbors and points neighbors towards becoming members of the family of God. It’s not pushy or harsh; it’s about showing everyone love no matter what their situation is. I think this is an ideal way to love our Christian friends well and also to demonstrate God’s love to those who may not believe as well.
There are many ways we can love one another well. Let’s pray.
A Prayer to Love Others Well
You know I get busy in my life and don’t take the time to connect with my friends as I should. The last thing I want is for my relationships with people to die from neglect. Please help me make the time to spend with my friends and love them well.
In your name, I pray
Carrie Lowrance is a writer and author. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, The Penny Hoarder, Young Modern Money, and WriteSpike. She is also the author of two children’s books, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) and Brock’s Bad Temper (And The Time Machine). You can find out more about Carrie and her writing at www.carrielowrance.com.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Debby Hudson