How long can one say they are something that is consistently unobservable?
In speaking with his disciples, Jesus said, “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13.35). I’ve shared talks on this. I’ve communicated this concept before. In my sharing, the focus has always been on the disciples; on the loving of one another. As an unfortunate result, it’s remained ethereal; held hands, tight hugs and well-wishes in a church foyer. By focusing on the inter-disciple love, however, a major portion of this short text is ignored.
The way in which this is uttered, the evidence of the love shared by disciples of Christ is the observability of the love itself. For the love to be genuine it must be observable to the point that those outside of the circle of the disciples can understand the love as such. Love that is not observable cannot be assumed.
It’s the scientific method applied to love. Science deals with only that which can be observed. By this method and by the words of Christ in John 13.35, the phrase “prove your love” kind of has no meaning. Love is or it isn’t; it exists or it doesn’t; it is readily observable or it’s not. To follow this thinking (which I think can very helpful in this circumstance) love one another remains an unprovable theory meaning it is not verifiably true unless it is consistently demonstated within the context it is believed to exist.
In other words, don’t ask if the folks in your church “love one another”; instead, run your church through the grid in the paragraph above and either prove it or state otherwise; our love for one another remains a theory unprovable at the current time.
By the way, I give you the permission to use this method for everything else:
- Do I care for the poor?
- Do I love my neighbor?
- Do I believe in divine healing?
- Do I honor my father and mother?
Better than asking “Is this true of me?” is the question, “Can this be said of me?”. Only that which can be observed consistently can be spoken of as true.
As I type this, I can see in my own life that I have some work to do. As you read this, I hope you say the same.