Loving other Christians is not something that is simply optional, preferable, or even ideal. Rather, the Bible bluntly asserts,
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)
It is an impossible contradiction to be a believer who hates other believers. As hard as it can be to love our brothers and sisters (we all have different personalities, preferences, and sins), by His Spirit, God meets the demand of the command with His boundless stores of grace so that we can fulfill the royal law of love.
Therefore, we can love fellow Christians with the kind of love that the Bible talks about—love that is patient and kind; that does not envy or boast; that is without arrogance or rudeness; that does not insist on its own way; that is not irritable or resentful; that does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Such love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. By His grace, we can love with that love that covers a multitude of sins (see 1 Cor. 13:4–13; 1 Peter 4:8).
There are many benefits to loving each other this way. It fuels our worship and praise of God, it aids our prayers and supplications, and it enriches our life and fellowship together. But Jesus also taught that by loving one another, we show the world that we are His disciples. Our Christian identity is not something to be hidden in a dark corner or spoken in a barely audible whisper. In this sense, a Christian has no right to privacy. Who we are in Jesus Christ is to be made manifest to those around us.
So, let us ask an important question: How does the world know you are a Christian? Is it by your social media memes and tweets? By a well-placed bumper sticker or the books on your shelf? Is it by your getting (or not getting) a tattoo or listening to Christian music? Is it by your wearing religious symbols or using catchphrases? Or is it by your ability to debate and argue? Jesus tells us of a more excellent way: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Loving one another genuinely and affectionately in the daily and mundane routines of life is a powerful witness that cannot be contradicted or overcome. The world may not understand our love for each other, it may not appreciate the way we love each other, and it may not praise the love we have for one another. But as we love our brothers and sisters in word and deed, all will see and know, by this love, that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.