5 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

2 Samuel 4:1–6:23
John 13:31–14:14
Psalm 119:17-32
Proverbs 15:31-32

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

John 13:34-35 (CSB): “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Good!

As a pastor, it has been my observation that far too many people show up to their place of worship, smile, shake hands, engage in trivial banter, and eventually go home … empty.

I’ve seen it time and time again. They had previously come to my office and bore their heart. Sometimes, they wept.

  • Maybe they were filled with anxiety over losing their job and their inability to pay their bills.
  • Maybe they were filled with grief over a recent round of bad news from doctors about a loved one.
  • Maybe they were filled with guilt over their inability to get the victory over a sin that so easily ensnared them (Hebrews 12:1).

But, then they showed up to worship with their church family and they left feeling worse than when they showed up. They realized that they were carrying a huge weight but that no one else knew about it. In fact, they may have been afraid to share their deep-seated problems with their church family.

  • They were afraid that others wouldn’t care.
  • They were afraid that others would judge them.
  • They were afraid that others would marginalize them.
  • They were afraid that others would reject them.

So, they suffered in secret. They showed up to the place where the ultimate healing should take place … but they left sad, disheartened, and empty.

How do we fix this? How can the church be the “hospital” where hurting people are healed?

The answer is found in the verses I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses.

John 13:34-35 (CSB): “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus didn’t simply encourage us to love others. He commanded us to love other believers!

And He set the bar high. He told us to love each other just like He loves us (remember, He loved us so much that He went to the cross to pay our sin debt).

Further, He said that our love for each other would demonstrate that we really are Jesus-followers – because we love each other like He loves us.

What might it be like if our churches were saturated by this kind of love?

What would it be like if our churches were places where people were growing in their knowledge and application of God’s Word but also were growing in their reception and administration of grace? So, they spoke the truth to each other but they also lavished grace upon each other as well.

What if people who were struggling with sin could be honest with other believers who would acknowledge the seriousness of the sin but would also administer grace, patience, and a commitment to help them overcome the sin?

What if people who were struggling with anxiety could be honest and open with those in their church family of friends who would rally around them to provide the security and whatever is necessary to help them through that trial?

What if our churches were filled with people who genuinely loved each other like Jesus loves us? In that context, it would be easy to imagine that people would feel much more able to be open and honest about what’s going on in their heart so that they could be helped and supported by their family of friends.

Friends, our churches need to be safe places. They need to be places where we speak the truth of God’s Word and lavish the healing grace of Jesus upon each other. We need to take sin seriously but we need to take grace just as seriously.

Romans 5:20-21 (CSB): “The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I suspect that human flourishing would be experienced by so many who were a part of a church like that.

Commit to being the kind of church that loves the truth and loves each other. Don’t let people suffer in silence. Be a safe place where honesty and healing can take place.

If you do, you won’t be able to keep people away. People are longing for a place like that!