Forget “Commands”; Jesus EMPOWERS Us to Love

We follow the way of Jesus not because we are afraid of what will happen when we don’t, but for the joy that comes when we do.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

What a beautiful commandment!

But when you’re struggling in your faith, especially when you’re most familiar with exclusive interpretations that seem to shut most of the world off from God’s love or salvation, and these interpretations cause anxiety or even dread… when you long for comfort but feel uncomfortable in your faith… even a commandment as beautiful as this can carry the dreaded unspoken words “or else.”

So forget the word “commandment.” Jesus EMPOWERS us to love one another.

When we understand God not as a judgmental deity who rewards obedience and punishes disobedience or doubt, but rather as Love dwelling within and surrounding us, Love as the ultimate power in which the universe abides, everything changes.

Abide in love. Let love be your state of being, the lens through which you see the world.

Jesus is saying that we have the power to love and enjoy one another as God loves and enjoys us, and he is unleashing that power within us. Jesus loves us no matter what. But we are his friends when we live in friendship, abiding in the trust of love so that our actions are moved not by fear or guilt or even duty, but the sheer love of helping and uplifting one another.

“I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends.” The disciples were never chosen to be mere servants. But Jesus was teaching them to serve, to live lives of service. Feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the poor and marginalized. Now Jesus is taking it to the next level, modeling to the disciples not only how to serve the world, but how to befriend it.

Befriend the poor. Befriend the marginalized. Be in such solidarity and comradeship that social distinctions disappear. And build up a world from this foundation in which everyone has enough, and everyone thrives.

The powers and principalities of a fallen world will rail against all you. The risk to reputation, livelihood, and life itself is great. But to abide in God’s love is to know that you are so dearly loved, and that love sustains you even through death, that joy is not diminished.

We follow the way of Jesus not because we are afraid of what will happen when we don’t, but for the joy that comes when we do.

Also, a blessed Mother’s Day to all. Mother’s Day is meant to celebrate the motherly love that makes the killing of any mother’s child anywhere in the world unthinkable.

The Olive

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