Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)

One of my favorite past times is to watch people. You have to be discreet in this process because there’s a fine line between watching people and staring at people. People tend to get a bit uncomfortable if they sense some stranger is staring at them…but I digress.

Sometimes when you are watching a group of people it’s pretty easy to see the family resemblances.

‘That group over there? The father and mother are with their son and daughter-in-law. It’s obvious that the young man is the son. He’s the image of his father! And the young lady? Obviously part of the group, but not by blood. She looks nothing like the rest of the group. Accepted? Yep. Blood relative? Not a chance’

Jesus tells us that people will know we, as Christ-followers, will know we are family. They’ll know we are the children of our Heavenly Father. How? Not by hair color or color of the eyes. Not by the protruding chin or obnoxious laugh. Nope, people will know we are children of our heavenly father because our love for one another will be obvious. Our love for each other is the defining characteristic of being a Christ-follower.

That love isn’t bound by denominational lines, theological persuasions, past experiences or relational stability. It’s not controlled by a particular eschatological view point, race, gender or political party. It’s not determined by our ability (or inability) to drive properly, sing on key or practice some particular spiritual gift. Our love for one another supersedes anything we see here on earth.

So the question each of us must answer today is this: “Do others see that I’m a child of my Heavenly Father by the way I love others who are different than me?”  Think about that answer before you blurt it out. Is there someone you haven’t forgiven yet? Is there someone you’ve offended that you haven’t made it right? Have you spoken evil of someone or sarcastically joked about them?

How can you show the love of the Father to someone you don’t particularly agree with? How can you show patience and acceptance to people who live a life-style that goes against your personal convictions? In a word, how will you show God’s grace to those around you today? That’s what love is really about. Showing God’s Grace to those who deserve it the least.

PRAYER: Father there are so many times I let my personal feelings get in the way of how I treat other people. So many times when I can rationalize my critical spirit and judgmental nature. Please forgive me for the lack of love and grace in relationships with others, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ. Empower me by your Spirit to let others see your image of love in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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