“Love one another just as I have loved you.”
Surely Jesus’ command to love one another was nothing new for the disciples and those of their time. The commandment is well known in the Old Testament: Love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself.’ So what is new? — “Love as I have loved you.” This is how we are to love. Love is not what we do, it is how we do it.
When we reflect on the words ‘…as I have loved you’, what are our thought processes? Do we look for various Scripture references which speak of God’s love for us and in them find a God who loves unconditionally, a God whose love is indiscriminate: a God who is loving, caring, forgiving, compassionate, understanding and self-sacrificing. We find so many qualities of love for us to emulate. We are constantly looking for ways in which we can do this, ways in which we can show that we love as Jesus loved. Do we have the correct starting point? We are familiar with the story of the traveller who stopped to ask someone the directions to his destination. “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here,” was the reply. Jesus’ starting point was his awareness that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:11)
How we embark on our journey of loving others is rooted in our personal experience of who we are. Love is not something we decide to do now and then. Love is who we are. We are created in the image of God and God is love. We were created by a loving God to be love in the world. When we get the “who” right and realise that who I am is love, then we will do what we came to do: Love God and love all that God has created. It is not really what we do that matters. It is the energy we do it with. We can tell immediately if there is love energy coming from the person we are with. When we truly experience God who is Love, when we know that our heart keeps beating with His energy, then we become Love. We also know this to be true of others as well as ourselves. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” (Les Miserables)