“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34
Have you heard of something called the “get along” shirt? Where parents will put two siblings inside of a gigantic t-shirt where they each only have use of one arm. I have personally not ever used this technique but I’m pretty sure for those that do, their intention is having the kids work together so closely they will learn to get along without it. I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with this – I’m not going to use this devotion as a platform for that debate – however I thought about that exact shirt while outside with my dogs the other day.
Those two cuties in the photo are our canine kids Geronimo (on the left) and Atticus (on the right). As you can see from that picture, I improvised the “get along” shirt for the “get along” leash! Both dogs like to explore our property in different ways. It is winter right now and unfortunately that means often I must be outside to shovel. Because I am busy, I cannot possibly keep my eyes 100% on their whereabouts. Especially when they each go their own way. If a person and/or dog and/or wildlife walks by I’m not guaranteed both will listen to my command to stop and come back to me. Thus the “get along” leash!!
I have two leashes tethered together and each side is hooked to a dog. Where one goes the other must follow. In this way when I call them and Geronimo (8 years old) responds to come, then Atticus (1 year old) has to follow. It is my hope that Geronimo will help teach Atticus to better respond when called by watching the actions of his older canine brother.
I do wish life were as easy as the “get along” shirt or the “get along” leash. I’ve watched the news and wished there was a shirt to stuff two sides of a debate into, to force them to get along. Or how I’ve watched tension in a relationship and wished there was a leash to tether them to a mentor so they can learn to behave better. But I suppose that is the beauty of human kind. God created each of us to be independent from everyone else. God created each of us with free will to go about life as we choose.
What we need to always remember though is that it is God’s greatest command to love our neighbor and so we must find a way to do that. No matter the circumstances. No matter how hard it appears.
We were created for love. We were created to love all of God’s children. And you know what? EVERYONE who is alive on this earth is one of God’s children.
End of story.
Today let’s study God’s word as if it were our secret “get along” shirt and/or leash. Use the words of John 13 to think about how you can learn to love ALL of the people around you. See just how Jesus loved on others up until the end. Then, think about those you consider difficult to love and reshape your frame of mind around them.
Study – John 13 – NIV
1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8”No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9”Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13”You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
18”I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
19”I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
22His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23One of them, the disciple who Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means,”
25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26Jesus answered, “it is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
31When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33”My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!