"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 NIV
We all carry bits of paper and plastic in our wallets that verify who we are. We have driver's licenses, medical cards, AAA cards, passports, and many others. Some even have our photos to add credence to proving we are who we say. If we lose something like our driver's license, we need other things like birth certificates, marriage licenses, and utility or tax bills to replace them. Heaven forbid someone steals our identities. That's a whole different level of headache.
Despite carrying all these physical objects proving who we are, they do nothing to identify the inner person–our psyche. Some of who we are may be linked to our DNA, but much comes from how we react to our environment. Over time, these responses form how we think and, by extension who we become. If we hold something to be true, then our actions support what we believe.
When we accept Christ, we also take on a new identity. At once, Christ begins to modify those wrong things we formerly believed true. Our souls receive a scrubbing, and purer thoughts and behaviors replace the sins that corrupted us. The proof of this new identity is our ability to love. To love those we loved anyway in new ways, those who have harmed us, and those, for whatever reason, we simply didn't like.
As children, we probably loved in this way, but our attitudes changed over time and through different life experiences. We discovered with human love, there sometimes comes pain and hurt. Unlearning those negative human responses may take time. Although Christ has begun this inward transformation, to love as Christ is not instantaneous. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we must unlearn and relearn our ideals of love. Don't be discouraged; claim your identity as a child of Christ and keep loving.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love in sending your only Son to die for our sins. His example shows us how to love and treat one another with compassion, empathy, and kindness. Lead us by the Holy Spirit to claim our identity and to love in new ways. May our actions be for your glory. Amen.