READ : 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. (v. 12)
Without you telling them, do people know you’re a Christian? One of the characteristics that made the early Christians stand out was their love, expressed through actions like caring for each other’s physical and economic needs. The mutual love of Christians was radical too, in that it was expressed by people of drastically different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. One’s status in the wider culture didn’t translate into a higher or lower status in the church. Instead believers were united in their new identity in Christ. They had their conflicts too, but these were bearable because of the love they shared—love modeled to them by Paul and others, and ultimately by Christ himself.
Whenever I hear the song, “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love,” I pause and reflect on whether I live in such a loving way that strangers can actually know that about me. I’m saddened when I hear people say their impression of Christians is that they are judgmental and exclusive. I wonder, what would it look like to reach out in radical love to people who have felt rejected by us? Surely Christ’s love—so wide and long and high and deep—seeks to embrace all who feel cast out. And surely Christ’s love has the power to turn all of us, no matter how broken or bitter we feel, into instruments of God’s love.
God, may our lives show forth your love.