Do you feel like a revolutionary, striving to change the world? Because, if you’re a Christian, that’s what you’re called to be!
Online or offline, those who follow Jesus are called to join the #JustLove Revolution.
Just take a look at this passage from Mark 12:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’
29 ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’
32 Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God. And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
The question that prompted JesusÂ response in this passage came from a teacher who desperately wanted to know God and to live out a Godly life. As we strive to understand how to live in the digital world, Jesus’ answer here contains an important message for us.
If we were to ask Jesus how to be #digidisciples he might offer the same answers he provides to the teacher in this passage.
That answer is remarkably simple. Jesus doesnÂt sit the questioner down and pore over reams of theological or philosophical material. Instead, he answers with two explicit commands, and one implicit:
Love your neighbour;
These three commands can be summarised with one simple, Twitter-friendly hashtag: #justlove.
That’s the key message that Jesus offers to all his followers: #justlove.
That’s the key instruction that Jesus brings to all who strive to live out the gospel in the digital world: #justlove.
First and foremost, we need to #justlove God.
We need to love God because he loved us first (1 John 4:19). God loves us so much that he gave Jesus Christ, his only Son, to die for us so that whoever believes in him can have eternal life (John 3:16).
We should love God as a response to the love that he has shown and continues to show us day by day.
#JustLove our neighbour
We also need to #justlove our neighbour. Not just those who live near us, but everyone that we come into contact with, and that applies online as well as offline. We’re called to love even our annoying siblings, our irritating work colleagues and the people who we follow on Twitter who we think might be slightly crazy.
Loving people is not always easy, but thatÂs what we’re called to do. Jesus tells us to love our neighbours because love is from God (1 John 4:7). Our love for our neighbours is a consequence of knowing God, and should be an automatic, subconscious response to God’s love for us.
As we engage with people through our blogs, through Twitter and Facebook, and through any number of other digital platforms, our love for our digital neighbours should be clear for all to see. This is not always easy; sometimes people catch us when we’re in a bad mood, or irritate us, or upset us. But nevertheless we’re called to #justlove.
The third element of this passage is often overlooked. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves, he suggests that we need to #justlove ourselves.
It’s surprisingly common for people not to like who they are, let alone to love themselves. With the constant pressure of life in the twenty-first century it’s easy to lose any sense of self worth. We feel useless at work. We get depressed. We feel like a burden on our friends and family. We feel fat, or ugly, or useless.
Yet the truth is that God loves us and he wants us to love ourselves. God created us in his own image (Genesis 1:26) and, whilst he saw the rest of his creation as ‘good,’ he saw humans as ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). We are the crowning glory of God’s creation, deeply loved by him, and deeply loved by our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The call of #digidisciples: #JustLove
If we strive to be disciples of Christ, to live as salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16), and to live online as digital disciples, the message of Jesus here is absolutely vital for us all.
We need to love.
If we all followed this simple command, we’d see a revolution sweep across the internet.
The #JustLove Revolution.
Are you in? Are you up for the #JustLove Revolution?
In the coming months I will be reflecting on these verses in much more detail. In the meantime, do share your thoughts below, particularly on the following questions:
How can we show that we love God online?
How can we demonstrate our love for our neighbours in the digital world?
How can we utilise digital technology (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc) to support and demonstrate love for our fellow believers as they strive to live for Christ?
Does modern technology affect, positively or negatively, the way that we see ourselves?
Can we use digital platforms to support those who don’t love themselves?
This article was originally published by The Big Bible Project. To consolidate reflection and debate please leave any thoughts on this post on the appropriate page at BigBible.org.uk.