By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Does it not seem strange that Jesus would use our love for one another (within the church) as the mark by which the world can identify us as His disciples? Perhaps it might seem strange until we get to know one another – and we realize that every single believer has issues that they are dealing with. No one has it all together – and in spite of that, we are called to love one another! One may be suffering from depression, another with backsliding, another from loneliness, another with rebelling teenagers, another with an unbelieving husband, and the list goes on and on and on!
Someone has well said, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” In accord with that statement, Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” This is a hospital where we don’t have it altogether – but this is where the genuineness of our love is tested! This is where it is revealed whether we truly are His disciples! Do we care for the person sitting next to us, or behind us? Are we concerned for the burdens they may be bearing? They may be different than we are, and guaranteed they will not have it altogether – but they need the medicine of God’s love channelled through us! Each of us needs that! Each of us needs the love and support of others in our lives to help us navigate the way. Paul tells the Galatian believers, and he tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
In museums, the inhabitants are perfect, yet lifeless. Whereas in hospitals, the inhabitants are far from perfect – but they are alive! None of us is perfect, but by God’s grace, we are alive! We have been given new life through the One who bore our burden on the Cross of Calvary. May God help us to grow in loving one another and bearing each others burdens, and so reveal to the world that we are His disciples!