“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
As parents, we want to teach our kids to love like Jesus. The thing is, we Christians tend to keep to ourselves a lot of the time. Our friends are the people we go to church with. Our kids socialize with the other kids in our homeschool group. We go to these same families’ weddings and birthday parties. They become our social circle. It’s relatively comfortable because we think alike. We believe the same. Even our politics are similar because of our worldview.
Jesus loved differently. By today’s standards, He might have been considered an ineffective communicator, because so much of what He said was done on such a small scale. Not everyday was Sermon on the Mount. Jesus actually spent time with the people who needed to hear that God loved them, despite what society may have thought about them. They were sinners, they were outcasts, they were the poor and the sick. Yes, Jesus spent time with these people, because he loved them.
Do you love non-Christians?
Now, before you say, “Yes, of course I do!” Think about all the time you purposefully spend with those who are not believers in Christ, just loving them like Jesus.
I live in the South. The Bible Belt. It’s not that unusual to see people praying in public, before their meals. Many businesses are closed up on Sundays, to allow their employees time to worship with their families. It’s assumed that you go to church, because in conversations with strangers I have been asked WHERE I go to church not IF. And yes, out here we invite strangers to attend our church.
But if I were to run into a person who I found out didn’t know Jesus, would I still want anything meaningful to do with them? Would I simply skirt the subject of faith and remain socially superficial? Or would I lovingly share my story with them? Maybe invite them to coffee and talk about how God has changed my life.
Another way we can show our kids how to love others, even those who are non-Christian, is to make sure they see us minister to those who need to feel the love of Christ physically, first.
The sick. The elderly. The hungry. The imprisoned. The widowed. The orphaned. The homeless.
When we become the hands and feet of Jesus, we are showing others love, in His name. We are telling them, “Yes, I love you, because I was loved by Him, first.” Because Jesus told us they will know we are Christians by our love…
How do others know you are a Christian?
Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributor to the What’s in the Bible and JellyTelly blogs. She is a homeschooling mom of two, who works independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville. Her blog, Talking Like A Girl, is currently being restructured.