“That you love one another as I have loved you….By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,” is so familiar to us in John 13:31-35, that we are inclined to wonder what else we can say about this passage that has not already been said. Yet, this simple commandment is at the very core of who we are as Christians. Jesus was referring to living that love in everything we do. Sure, loving those with whom we agree or have an affinity is easy. Loving the rest of the folks is a much harder proposition. It is a part of the human condition to love and want to be loved.
The love that Jesus speaks of is hard because it required that we put the good of others before our own, even when it is inconvenient and when it “hurts.” It is the hallmark of God and the Christian Church. We see it played out when we overlook the slight of a friend, or put aside our goals to help someone achieve his or hers. Whether it’s a large act of love or a small “gesture,” it requires sublimating our ego to benefit another, not out of any sense of obligation or desire to incur favor or reward, but because we are inspired to do so. Sometimes that love requires putting aside a hurt or moving beyond disappointment caused by a friend or family member, even when it is incredibly hard.
Today, we are faced with the stark reality of two Chechen immigrants who have committed horrible crimes against families and the spirit of a wonderful city and grieving nation. How do we make room in our hearts for those who caused much pain? How in the context of these atrocities do we live the love that Christ lived?
God has not promised to take away our trials, but to help us change our attitude toward them…this is what holiness really is. (Keating, The Human Condition)