Love One Another
We have been thoroughly programmed by the world to think individualistically and our autonomy from God has made us autonomous from one another. These are the days of the independent worker who is in every sense independent of God and fellowman. With bad experiences in mind, good leaders sometimes advocate being on "one's own" as if that would somehow solve the problem of relationships. Even in family and social circles, because of real hurts suffered in some relationships, we tend to retreat into a shell and refuse to go out of our way to relate to others.
If this is to be our foundation, Jesus left us with a precarious thought: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35). Our thinking on interdependent inter-personal life has strayed so far
from the Biblical model. Without being unrealistic (even Scripture attests that good relationships are bilateral) we can ensure that our side of the deal is blameless. This is imperative, for Scripture seems to maintain that relationships lie at the heart of our testimony to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
Thankfully, the Scriptures give us more than a glimpse into the outworking of God-as-Community. The equality of the status of the Father and the Son is strikingly portrayed in a discussion between Jesus and Jewish leaders following the healing of the paralytic at Bethesda (See John 5:19-30). At the same time, we should not fail to notice an amazing paradox. The Father does not hold on to any of his prerogatives as the First Person of the Trinity, but loves the Son and shows him all that He does, entrusts all judgment to the Son, and has granted the Son to have life in himself and to give life to others (John 5:20-26). On Christ's
part, what is the attitude of the Son to the Father? He does only what he sees the Father doing, confesses that by himself he could do nothing, and seeks to please the Father in all things (5:19-30).
The Holy Spirit is similarly entrusted. He is the one the Father sends upon his church in the name of his Son, the one who goes out from the Father and is an equal (and even better) replacement for the physical presence of the Son among his people (John 15:26, 16:7). There is no doubt about the eternal divinity of the Holy Spirit as co-equal with the Father and the Son. Yet, he will testify not about himself, but about Christ; he will not speak on his own but only what he hears, and he will bring glory to the Son by taking what is the Christ's and making it known to us (John 16:13-14).
The image God has given us in the Trinity is an image of three Persons giving themselves to one another in eternal communion. Is there any wonder that the
redemption offered to the human race by our Creator in the Lord Jesus Christ has to necessarily produce a lifestyle which would indicate redeemed relationships as the reality of salvation? All of the philosophical speculations, positions, and debates in the world cannot argue against a society of God's people who in their corporate life demonstrate the reality of the god whom they worship.
Our individualistic theologies have substituted personal and private holiness for true inter-personal holiness among God's people, and by implication, all other levels of creation. In his command to love one another, Jesus calls us to redress this misunderstanding. May we, under God, trust the Holy Spirit to quiet our disunity, remake our mindsets, and heal our relationships.
L.T. Jeyachandran is executive director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore.