When Jesus told us to follow a “new” command, which was, “Love one another as I have loved you”, He was laying down the only commandment He ever gave. All the other things He said and taught were basically, “If you do this, you will receive this”, and so on. But the command He gave to His followers was that they were to love each other.
Two things are obvious. First, if we do love each other—-as He loved us—-we’re going to stand out and be noticed as a unique group. And secondly, if we love others, our lives will be far less complex and burdensome and our hearts lighter.
When I love someone—-in every sense of the word “love”—-I am more charitable towards his/her bad habits and shortcomings. I display more patience and understanding and I want to believe the best about him/her. Even when I know that the one I love is taking advantage of me, lying to me or being unkind to me, somehow I am able to tolerate it precisely because I love them.
But if the same bad behavior is shown to me from someone I don’t love (as today with a banker from NYC) or one that I don’t know and therefor have not come to love, I am far less sympathetic and kind. Those kind of acquaintances tend to ruin my day when they do something that offends or annoys me and I have hard time letting go of my resentment. The result is my load becomes heavy, I feel tied to my angry feelings and I have a hard letting go of the disappointment/resentment and even refrain from loving those near to me. In effect, I am corrupted and my soul is polluted by the lack of love I have for the stranger or one that I have difficulty loving.
So I have come to understand that truth of His command (or His “yoke) making my life easier.It works! When I determine to love others—-as He loved— I am a happier soul! I cannot remain bitter, weighed down, plotting my revenge or hoping that he gets what he deserves if I love him—-it’s not possible. He might not be better because I love him (as Jesus loves me), but I am better! This is the yoke Jesus was talking about. It is light and easy.
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