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FIRST-PERSON: Loving others like Jesus loves

NASHVILLE (BP) – We need a Great Commandment revival.

Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength leads us to love one another. Whenever we struggle loving anyone or everyone, it is a call to personal repentance and to love God with everything we are.

When a follower of Christ mistreats others, uses abusive or venomous language, creates suspicion, lies about others, causes division and factions, or does anything like this in language or action, it strongly indicates that person needs to repent and fall in love with God again. The act of loving people always flows from the spiritual overflow of his or her relationship with God.

“Love one another” are perhaps the three greatest words ever spoken by Jesus Christ. He said, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34). Three times in one verse, Jesus calls us to love one another.

In fact, “love one another” holds us accountable in our behavior before God and others publicly. One action alone lets everyone know we are disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus went on to say, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

A major problem in the SBC

We have a major problem with the present culture in the Southern Baptist Convention. Sadly, it is not a new problem, but it has never been greater. We have stooped to talking at one another through posts on social media. We talk at each other and about each other more than we talk to each other. Often, our own culture is toxic.

Would Jesus do any of this? Absolutely not! We are not even giving one another the benefit of the doubt. We assume the worst rather than the best. Do we think we are exempt from Jesus’ words, “Love one another”?

SBC family, we need to be known for love, not anger. Trust, not distrust. Unity, not division. We need a flourishing and life-giving culture that is built upon humility, honesty, forgiveness and servant leadership. Loving one another will change the culture within our SBC family.

Jesus said the only thing that sets us apart as His disciples is our love for one another. Years ago, I heard this saying and have never forgotten it: When you belong to Jesus, you belong to love.

A needed action in the SBC

When is the last time you considered making things right with someone or a group of people? Humbling yourself and making things right before God and others is imperative to walking with God personally. Forgiveness and restoring a relationship are not optional for Christ followers. Love others like Jesus loves you.

1 Peter 2:17, “Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters.” Therefore, a man does not need to demean a woman or even another man. Nor does a woman need to demean a man or even another woman. Talking down to others and disrespecting one another never honors God or others. Why should we not do this?

The same Heavenly Father who made you and me has created every person in the world and made them in His image. He calls us to treat all people with the same honor, dignity, and respect.

A final warning

Every Christian needs to be alert to this warning from the Word of God: “And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:6).

Yes, these are strong words. Be careful, not careless. Be wise, not foolish. Be a blessing, not a bully.

I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36).

Every word matters. Every action matters. Every person matters. When we are living out the Great Commandment through a powerful, loving relationship with God that will lead us to flourishing relationships with others, the Church will live out the Great Commission and become like a mighty army focused on the task of global evangelization and making disciples of all the nations.

Now is the time to lead.

    About the Author

  • Ronnie Floyd