"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." So proclaims Jesus.
"Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves." So pleads Paul.
And Paul again, "Lay aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
And again, "As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."
Peter tells us, "...all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit" and also, "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."
And what about John? "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
And again, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer."
One more: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loes is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love...Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
I could go on and on with more from Jesus, Paul and John, but we know what our calling is: LOVE! We are called to love and serve one another; and in this way the world will see Christ. When we slander one another, gossip about one another, outright LIE about one another, we are not being imitators of God, we are not manifesting "the attitude of Christ" (the mind of Christ) in us; rather, we are behaving as the "world" behaves, as though we have not been delivered from the kingdom of darkness. When we tear one another down (in order to exalt ourselves), we are denying the power of the Gospel and the life of Christ in us. When we speak against our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ we lie against the truth and give evidence to the world (and the Church) that we don't have the love of God in us: we give the world occassion to blaspheme our great God and Savior!
Stop this nonsense! Quit being so ungracious. Quit being so rude. Quit being so hateful. We are called to love our enemies; but we can't even love our brothers and sisters!
Oh, that the world would see our love for one another; our patience toward one another; our graciousness and compassion; our unity in the bond of love and the Spirit! If we can't love one another and serve one another for our maturity in the faith, how in the world can we ever expect to love the world and share the love of God to a lost and dying generation?
For the love of God...can we love one another?