The following is an excerpt from Undivided: Living FOR and Not Just WITH One Another by my friend Rhonda Owens and her husband, Mitchell. It’s a 12-week study on the “one another” passages in the New Testament and is perfect for parents who want a simple, easy-to-use resource to work through together with their families. Accompanying each short devotional (like the one below) is a list of discussion questions as well as an activity in which the whole family can participate.
We live in a culture where people are pulled in a thousand different directions. With so many distractions, it’s easy to live in the same house with children and a spouse without really engaging them in deep relationship.
In other words, if we’re not careful, family members could become mere roommates — people whose paths we cross for a few minutes at breakfast, and maybe a few more minutes before bedtime, but no one with whom we develop any real connection.
But Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
When He commands us in this verse to love one another, He isn’t suggesting that we love one another; He is, instead, ordering it.
To follow the command fully means to not only say you love someone, it also means to show in action and in deed that you love the person.
For example, you could tell your mom how much you love her while at the same time taking her breakfast dishes to the sink.
You could tell your sibling you love her while at the same time helping her across the busy street and then playing with her at the park (even when your friends want you to join them for a quick game of baseball).
You could tell your dad you love him while joining him in the garage clean-up effort.
Granted, you may not feel like cleaning up the breakfast dishes, playing at the park, or organizing the garage, but by choosing actions that you know will bless another member of your family, you are, in effect, loving that person by your actions.
Something else to notice about Jesus’ command is this: we are to love each other as He loved us.
Jesus gave His life for us. So if He wants us to love our families as He loved us, it’s going to require some sacrifice.
Loving each other in your family might mean opting out of a sports season; getting up earlier than planned; staying up later than is comfortable; engaging in an activity that bores you (but blesses the other person); visiting a store you dislike; making or eating a meal that isn’t your favorite…
Bottom line? Jesus commands us to love each other like He loved us — and He expects that we show this love to each other by what we do.