“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:14-15)
With all of the social media out there you’d think as Christians we’d be really good at loving each other. Why? Because Jesus told us that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
We love ourselves pretty well, don’t we? I mean look at how often we post pictures of ourselves and our family members, what we had for breakfast, what we think, what we do, what we feel…for everyone to see.
Yikes! And yet…our churches are not overflowing with people?
When Jesus gave the new commandment to His disciples that they should love one another in John 13, He explained why they should love one another (see John 13:34-35). It was so all men and women would know that they were His disciples.
So…why don’t people know that we are His disciples if we know how to love ourselves so well? Apparently the way we love ourselves hasn’t transferred to how we love one another.
Obviously, we’ve missed something here. Our problem is we haven’t switched our focus from caring about ourselves to giving that same care and attention to loving the people around us.
Jesus didn’t live on earth in the day and age of Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat—there is certainly a reason for that!—but even if He did He wouldn’t have been plastering His image for the whole world to see what He was doing. He wasn’t about loving Himself, though He had every reason to, being God.
That wasn’t His way or His plan. He could only do the will of His Father, and He submitted to that willingly, which required that He lay aside His glory and serve.
Not only did He explain that the reason for loving one another was so the world would know they were His, but He also told them how they were to do it–as He did. He washed their stinky feet. This was so offensive to Peter that he refused to let Jesus do it at first because this made no sense that the Son of God would do the job of a servant.
I bet Peter wouldn’t have been too eager to do that job himself either. Neither am I.
I’m not particularly fond of my feet. They are too wide and funny shaped. I have calluses from being on my feet all day at my job.
Other people’s feet are probably not so attractive either. We all have warts and calluses and dry skin and curled toenails with grime imbedded underneath….until we clean them. Why do we do that? Because we love ourselves. We take care of our bodies because we care about ourselves.
And if we follow Jesus we should care about our fellow neighbors (believers and unbelievers alike) enough to get down on our knees and wash their stinky feet.
We take them to the hospital when they are sick. We listen when they are hurting. We pick them up from the bar when they are too drunk to see straight. We care and listen without judgment when they confess to adultery or abuse or mental illness.
If we do this as followers of Jesus then the world will know we are His disciples.
Whether you use social media or not, think about this: Do I take care of people in the Body of Christ as much as I take care of my own needs and interests?
Maybe it’s time I buy a foot bath.
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