The command to love others is first given in Leviticus 19:18. There the people of God are instructed to love their neighbor as they love themselves. In John 13:34-35, Jesus issues a new commandment on love: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (NKJV). Christ is the new standard for what it means to love. When we love like Christ, we are showing the world that we are His followers.
Christ Jesus loved with a love that was sacrificial. His love was endless. Jesus loved all people, even those who hated Him. His love was demonstrated and not just discussed. His love was real and not just rhetoric. A love that others cannot see is not real love. The love that we have for one another is a visual display to the world that we belong to Jesus. Are you willing to go the extra mile for your brother or sister? Are you willing to treat people right even when they do you wrong?
This may sound like an impossible standard. However, God’s expectations of His people are based upon His empowerment. God does not ask us to do that which He has not equipped us to do. If there is a command, know that there is power to obey the command. We cannot love people unconditionally without help. We cannot bless those who curse us, do good to those who do us wrong, and pray for those who use us without some divine intervention. God has given us the help of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live out the command to love each other.