“The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.” (Æsop Fables)
Love is power. Anger and hate are powerful too. It’s easy to be like the wind and try to use our power to convince others to do things our way. Why? Because we think we are right. But, just as the man held more tightly to his coat when the wind blew, those who experience hate and anger hold more tightly to their own ideas and will not let go.
How did Jesus convince others to follow Him? Did he have long scholarly debates with the priests while the congregation looked on? Did he angrily berate Zacchaeus for stealing people’s money? Did he use a stoney silence on the disciples when they just plain continued to not “get it”? No. Jesus didn’t use hate and anger to draw people to his message of love. In the story of the woman caught in adultery He used love and forgiveness to repel the cold wind of her accusers.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12
There are no “if’s and’s or but’s in this text. It doesn’t say, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you with the following exceptions. It doesn’t say that at all, in fact, taken in context the verse after it says this:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Looking at the text immediately following the command to love everyone tells us that the greatest love is for someone to lay down their life for someone else. We generally skim right past this text because we don’t really think the opportunity to lay down our life for someone else will ever really happen to us. I’d like to look at this in a slightly different way. While we may never have the opportunity to literally die for someone else, daily life presents us with plenty of opportunities to slay our pride, which is a painful nearly impossible thing to do. Andrew Murray in his book “Humility” suggests we,” look upon every person who tries your patience or irritates you as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellowmen as a help to remain humble before God…..It is easy to think we humble ourselves before God. Yet humility toward men will be the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real.”
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10, 11
It tells us that if we keep His commandments one of them being “Love one another as I have loved you” that His joy will live in us and our joy will be full, we will not need to seek more joy when we love others like Jesus does.
Do you want to have the joy that abounds? I suggest we forget battling the wrong in others lives and start battling the pride in our own. Only humility will allow us the pure joy of the Father to continually flow thru us to others.
He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20