Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.” (Jn 15:12-17)
I have friends. We all do.
Some of my friends are not friends, though. As with all of us, we oftentimes use words interchangeably. Some of my friends are not so much “friends” as they are “acquaintances”. I know them by face, maybe by name, but do not have much affiliation with them otherwise.
Others are my friends. That is, I not only know them by face or name; but, I have more feeling for them.
However, if I have to be honest with myself, in the end, would I be willing to lay down my life for some of them?
I’m not so sure.
Now for a few — a few of the people I know and call “friend” — I think I would lay down my life. Yes, I would be able to lay down my life for them. If they were in trouble, if they were in need, I would want to be there for them and would be willing to do and give my all for them.
That is just me being honest.
The problem with that is my honesty indicts me. It indicts me because I should be willing to lay down my life for every person I have befriended and/or who has befriended me, every person I meet today, and every person I do not know.
Why? Because the Lord has set the example. He told us that greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends. Then He called us all His friends and He laid down His life for all of us.
Should we not do the same?
FAITH ACTION: There are people in our lives whom we do not like, whom we have refused to befriend, whom we do not even tolerate. Bring one of those people to mind today. In prayer, bring that person to the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you one feature, one characteristic of that person that would help you to change your impression of him or her. Do not get up until you have found a way to consider allowing that person into your life!