Scripture: John 13:34 (Jesus said to his disciples) “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Observation: The Greek word used here for “love” is the word “agape”. One of my bible resources defines agape – “It is ‘self-giving love.’ It is ‘love without expectations of returned affection.’ It is pure love, the love that acts simply out of the conviction that the right thing must be done for another human being.” It’s relatively easy to love someone who loves you back. The reason Jesus’ words are so challenging is that “agape” compels us to love people who aren’t necessarily lovable in our eyes. It’s in agreement with another saying of Jesus, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).
Application: We just completed what may have been the most vicious, divisive presidential election cycles in our nation’s history and there are many people who have been left wounded by the experience – particularly those who did not vote for Donald Trump. (Full disclosure: I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton as I found both candidates deeply flawed. I wrote in another candidate’s name and cast my vote.)
We’re told that many of those who did vote for Trump did so because they felt the political class (democrat and republican) has ignored their economically desperate situation for many years. Others because they believe the rapid move of culture to the left has not taken into account their more traditional views. Still others because they believe the political status quo, marked by gridlock and conflict, could no longer be counted on to function at even a minimal level. They want to be heard, and so they have. Donald Trump will be our next POTUS. So where does that leave those of us who didn’t vote for him? How do we respond?
“Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
The answer is love. We are to love those whose views differ from ours, not condemn them or belittle them. We are to pray for our next president, even if we don’t like him. Especially if we don’t like him. And we are to trust that, while the political world is in some measure of chaos, our Lord Jesus remains the king of kings and Lord of lords. Therein lies our hope dear brothers and sisters.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us to love others as you have loved us. Amen.