“Truly, He taught us to love one another; His law is Love and His gospel is Peace; Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother And in His name all oppression shall cease”
-Oh Holy Night
I often quote John 13:35 to my children when they are going at one another with bickering—please tell me yours do that, too.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Of course, they don’t like to hear it because it’s hard to love like Jesus.
My question to them: If a stranger were to walk into our home would their words draw them towards God or not?”
It really IS that simple. Are we loving one another like Christ taught us to love? Or are we not?
Usually, this very motherly exhortation results in peace for a moment—maybe two—but soon the arguing ensues and then I have to pull out the big guns like taking away electronics (NOT the electronics!!!) or even worse—forcing them to hug it out. Peace is going to reign in the Middlebrook home even if it kills us!!!
Law of Love
Last night at our Christmas Eve service, the words from Oh Holy Night gripped my heart in a shockingly revealing way.
The lyrics equate the slaves as our brothers and calls an end to oppression in the name of the one who taught us to love. I thought about what this meant in my life as I shakily sang the rest of the chorus.
Sometimes, I forget the Gospel of Peace in my effort to love the way Jesus taught me to love. I get so caught up in the injustices of this world that I lose myself in it rather than resting in His law of love and gospel of peace.
This year, I’ve been frustrated by the slowness of Kingdom work and have been worn down by the never-ending needs in Haiti. I’ve felt like a failure and more often than not, have felt ill-equipped.
Gospel of Peace
Yet, last night I was reminded that what happens this side of heaven isn’t what fans the flame of our mission. Our eyes are to look beyond to a King who wants to see every human being come to know His law of love and gospel of peace. We keep our eyes on Him—learning and leaning into Him.
Two-thousand years ago, God demoted Himself to the shameful status of a peasant boy so that the chains of oppression would be broken for Us once and for all.
So I ask you this—is your love for your brothers evident? If a stranger were to come into your home—would your love for others draw her to Christ? I’m not talking about easy love—like the kind we have for our friends and family, that kind gets us feel-goods and kisses in return. Jesus said even the world can love like that.
I’m talking about the kind of love that you have to dig deep for. The kind that leads us to sacrifice for others so that they may come to be freed from the chains of slavery. It is the grit-filled love that tenaciously pursues in spite of rejection. This is the hard love—the kind that is pretty much impossible apart from Him.
If only loving this way was as beautiful as the lyrics of this carol. Peace does not come naturally to us—as all bickering siblings can attest—it is as hard and messy as….well….as a baby Savior being born in a stable.
I’m thankful this season—for a love and peace that can only be found in the one who showed us the greatest love of all.
“Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Wishing your family the Love and Peace that Jesus us taught us. Merry Christmas!