My friends, it is so easy to love folk when things are going right; when people are treating you well and your day is good. But how easy is it to love folk when not only is everything around you falling apart, but the very people who you count on are tripping? Jesus teaches us in John 13:34-35 how to respond not just in the midst of the day-to-day challenges that we encounter. But Jesus speaks the above-mentioned words in the scripture, right after acknowledging that someone in his inner circle is going to betray him! Not an acquaintance, not a co-worker or a colleague. But someone who he traveled with, ate with, hung out with day and night– every day and every night. Someone who he trusted with his time, friendship, and money! His money!!
But right after revealing in verse 26 that Judas Iscariot is his betrayer, Jesus turns right around in verse 34 and begins talking about loving folk! Can you believe it?? Honestly…. I’m not sure how I would have felt. Because wait….! Not only was Judas the betrayer, but in verses 29 and 30 we know that Judas quickly left the presence of Jesus WITH the money box. What in the world?? I would have been like, “So yeah, I know you’re getting ready to snitch, but you need to leave that box right there on the table next to the bread and wine!” But not only does Jesus not say that to Judas (smh….) but Jesus lets him go and then starts talking to the rest of the disciples about …..LOVE!
You’ve already read the scripture. But essentially Jesus is saying (mind you, after Judas skips with the dough), “Look you’ve already been given a bunch of commandments, the Ten Commandments and more. But now, I’m giving you a brand new commandment —love each other.” Even though his boy Judas just committed the ultimate betrayal (and took the money with him!) Jesus is unfazed! In fact, remember that word when someone comes at you today. UNFAZED. Just say to yourself, “I am unfazed!”
Our African brothers and sisters have a word that essentially means that we see the humanity in others—even others who do things that are not too cool. The word is ubuntu. It means that we not only see the humanity in others but that we exercise and operate in a spirit of humanity towards others. Even though who act like they’ve lost their mind. I know that’s a hard act to follow when someone has betrayed you or talked about you or is just plain acting ugly! But our African family (particularly in southern Africa — South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi) understand the importance of waking up each morning, prepared to see the humanity in brothers and sisters. Ubuntu.
We remember that the imago dei—created in the image of God— does not just apply to me or to you. It applies to others as well. We must remember that.
A hard love. But a necessary Love. Ubuntu.
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