Loving Each Other Means Talking to Each Other
By Debbie Yamamoto
“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 13:34-35
This year I’ve spent quite a bit of time going between San Diego and my small hometown in Ohio. In February, we had to move my mom into a nursing home. It’s been an adjustment for my family, so I’ve tried to help when and where I can. I’ve spent the past 25 years traveling between these two areas, but this particular year—in airports, middle seats on airplanes, and during my extended stays in my old hometown—I’ve found myself fielding a lot of questions about living in California.
If I’m truly being honest about it, at first I found it rather intrusive. Eventually though, the Sunday School teacher in me overcame the introverted side of me, and I gave in. I tried to answer each question and throw a few questions of my own into the many different conversations that I faced from long-time family friends and from strangers alike. Did I enjoy each conversation? Uh…not always, but I participated.
I’ve come to truly believe that Jesus wants us to love each other, and getting to know each other is a great first step. Over the past few years, we’ve spent a lot of time away from each other; forming opinions about each other by what we’ve read or heard. Psalm 133, verse 1 tells us “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” If we want unity, we are going to have to spend some time talking to each other, even when it’s hard or inconvenient. Spending time in conversation with others whom we might not usually talk to (or have never met before, for that matter) shows us that at the end of the day, we have way more in common than we think. We are all created by God, made in His own image, and deeply loved by our Creator.
Dear Lord, we thank You for loving us. As we follow You out into new places in this world and among new people, give us courage through Your Holy Spirit to get to know and love our neighbors as You desire. Help us, Lord, to overcome our differences through Your power. In Your mercy, heal our land. Amen.