“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
We started attending our church in April 2013. The church was larger than I was looking for, but I could not shake the fact that God was calling us there. I looked for ways to not like the church and even made excuses for not wanting to go there, but God had other plans for me and my family. We met with the pastor of our church and had some of our questions and concerns answered and addressed. I ran out of excuses and concerns and we joined in August that year. I sometimes carry a chip on my shoulder when entering new relationships, and this time was no different.
On Wednesday nights, we split into prayer groups of 4-6 people and we shared our requests with one another. I got to meet some of the men there at the church in this way, and I was grateful as I did not know a lot of people. One of the men in our group also started to come to Freedom That Lasts, so I got to know him and we became friends. He was friends with another guy that prayed with us, but for no good reason, I did not like him. I did not wish him any ill will or anything like that, but I was just not a member of his fan club. His son and my son were in the same grade, and he even came to me to make things right after there was a minor fracas between our sons. I was impressed by this gesture, but I remained unchanged in how I felt about him.
A few years later, I approached him one day to discuss a podcast I wanted to do. He had vast knowledge of these type of things, and while I had grand ideas, I had no way to execute on them. I wanted to do a two-person podcast, but honestly did not have him in mind. We talked for a few minutes about it, but that was it. Time went on and I soon forgot about the podcast, but God brought it to my mind one Saturday while I was outside trimming bushes. I thought about it over the weekend and then on Monday, I was approached by this same guy to whom I always gave the cold shoulder. He asked me if I still was interested in doing a podcast, and I told him, “Absolutely!” We agreed to meet for dinner to discuss it further and we could clearly see that God was in this endeavor, even in the finer details. I apologized for not liking him and I couldn't even think of a good reason why I didn’t like him. I definitely was not practicing this verse of loving one another.
We started a podcast called Abundant Life, and the first couple of episodes involved us just getting our feet wet. It seemed that, week by week, as we shared God’s truth and studied His Word, that God started to draw us close to each other and create in me a brotherly love that was missing in my heart. I felt foolish for not showing love to my brother, and I was disappointed in myself for missing out all this time on this wonderful friendship. I am grateful for our friendship, and it seems we grow closer as the days go by. There is nothing like love for one another, when you love others like Jesus loved you. This kind of love is not based on favors or gifts, but is based on the Lord Jesus Christ. How petty we sometimes are to one another, and we miss out on the beautiful gift of love and friendship. I am trying to make up for lost time, but I am grateful for my friend who forgave me and saw past my faults.
Are you being held back by petty differences in your love one to another? Do you not like someone because they took your Sunday seat or said a hurtful word to you one time? Do you struggle with those who are not like you? I think of the many friendships I passed on, simply because I was too proud and foolish to obey the command of loving one another as God loved me. Will you miss you out on that special friend because of your disobedience? May God help us to have love one toward another as He loved us, and may we never forget that He loved us until the end. I John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Stay in the fight!