A Circular Reference

2 John
Main Verse: 2 John 6
by Brian Phillips

Reflection
Here, once again, John (son of Zebedee, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”), is writing a letter to be circulated among and read by all Christians. It’s a simple message, but he hammers it home: To be in the Truth means to love one another. God commands us to love one another, and the way we love one another is to keep His commands.

If you need further proof of the importance of loving one another, see Luke 10:25-27. In this account, Jesus is asked how a person can attain eternal life. His reply is simply this: Love God and love others. He then goes on to share the familiar story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate that “others” are those people who most of us try to avoid.

Food for Thought
I’m pretty good with computers. I trained myself on a computer before “Windows” was even around. And one of the first things I learned how to do was how to use a spreadsheet.

One of the frustrating things that used to happen to me was what is called a “circular reference.” An example of a circular reference is when you create a formula in one cell, that depends on a formula in another cell, that depends on the formula in the first cell. It’s an endless loop. In the old days, you would watch your computer try to solve the formula, and it would go on for eternity (nowadays, you get an error message that tells you what you’ve done, and gives you a chance to correct it).

In his letter, John creates a circular reference, too. It goes like this: We should love one another; love means doing what God has commanded us; and, God has commanded us to love one another.

Do you see the loop? Here it is, again: Love one another. How? Do what God commands. Which is . . . love one another. How? Do what God commands. Which is . . . love one another. How? Do what God commands. Etc., etc., etc.

Like the circular references in my spreadsheets that used to frustrate me, this one is eternal, too. Only, it’s not frustrating and there’s no need to correct it. It’s designed to be that way!

So What Now?
If loving God means obeying His commands, and His greatest command is that we love Him and love other people . . . even, or especially, people we try to avoid . . . then ask yourself, “Have I truly been loving God, lately?”

Who have you been avoiding these days? Maybe it’s time you started showing them love. By doing so, you will be actively demonstrating your love for God.

Prayer
Lord, I can’t do it on my own. Help me love those I try to avoid. Help me love You more. Amen

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