One Sunday morning Argentinian Pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz stood up to preach and looked out at his congregation of about a thousand people. He smiled, “Love one another… Love one another…” (John 13:34-35, 15:12)
The best-selling author of Disciple made eye contact with the people throughout his church. Then he went back to his seat and sat down.
It was quiet and uncomfortable — for five minutes!
Finally he walked back up to the pulpit. “Little children… love one another… Not just in words, but in deeds.” (1 John 3:18, paraphrased).
He sat down again. All eyes were fixed on Juan Carlos. He was praying.
A holy hush fell on the people.
After five more minutes Juan Carlos quietly turned to the person next to him and asked, “How can I pray for you?” They held hands and prayed for one another.
Soon everyone was sharing their concerns, listening, and praying together.
That was the sermon for the week: three words.
Three life-changing words of Jesus that were preached by the beloved disciple John and then by Juan Carlos Ortiz: “Love one another.” Everyone left church that morning with exuberant joy!
I’ve heard thousands of sermons but this is one of a very few that I’ve never forgotten!
Best of all, Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another with his love is what heals and empowers us to carry out his Greatest Commandment that we love God and our neighbors with our total person.
Kristi and I had painful conflicts early in our marriage. Thankfully, Kristi led the way in helping us learn to repair. We tell the story — with a picture of us as young and twitter-pated! — in our short devotional “Couch Time for Couples.”
Tune Into This Week’s Soul Talks Podcast: “Repairing a Relational Wound”
In real time, Kristi and I process a conflict and demonstrate the power of empathy for emotional healing, reconciliation, and learning to amend problem behavior.
Coming Next Week!
In our final week in the “Repairing Torn Hearts” series. Kristi and I share on “Emotional Cut Offs Hurt.”
How is Soul Shepherding Blessing You?
“I look forward to reading your devotionals. I am so grateful that God has brought such beauty out of hurt, sorrow, and misunderstanding. I rejoice in the loving community of grace and empathy we have received.”
Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA