See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
These words from John’s first letter to the church make a very plain point. We become part of a new family when we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Not a hobby club, not a business network – a family.
And solid families meet obligations to one another. When someone in a solid family is in pain, the whole family carries that hurt in some way. When one of the siblings enjoys a season of success, they all want to join in the excitement.
Families develop their own distinct reputations. Perhaps there has been an unbroken legacy of military service – we can say we come from a military family, whether we actually sign up or not. Or a household might bring about generations of musicians – we call them a musical family even if one or two don’t play.
Some reputations are good, others not so good, but every family has a reputation of some kind. The reputation that best describes the church is also the best reputation to have: we belong to a loving family. It was Jesus’ will that it should be so. He said it on the night He was betrayed:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
“All the people” will know about Christ’s love for mankind when we, His disciples, demonstrate that same kind of selfless, sacrificial love towards each other. Our relationships within the church show so much about God’s relationship with the rest of the world. So let’s all be diligent in our unselfish love to one another. Time to drop the old grudges, and pick up the servant’s towel.