1 John 4:20-21
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (NIV)
This passage is quite straightforward, and it is tough.
This passage goes against our human paradigm of relationships. Most of us can think of some people in our life that we love and others that are hard to love, and if we are honest, still others that we can hardly stand. But the Spirit is calling us to approach our relationships from a Heavenly perspective.
Imagine coming to my house, getting ready to leave after a good visit, and telling me how much you love and appreciate me. But as you are walking to the front door, my children come down the stairs and get in your way so you promptly take out a knife and kill them all. Then, as you step over their bloody bodies, you look back, smile, and say, “I love you so much!” Yeah, I don’t think so.
This is exactly what we do though from a spiritual eye. We go to church and praise the Lord. We declare our love for Him while basking in His love for us. Then we head out into traffic, get cut off by someone, and in the heart of murder, our anger is unleashed on this person. And when we get home, we praise God again for getting us home safely. You can’t love me while at the same time hating the ones I love.
The key to this passage is the words ‘brothers and sisters.’ Because God is the Father of all, we are all brothers and sisters. God is calling us to love others because they are his children. You can’t love God while hating His kids.
It is important to remember that love is doing what is best for someone not doing what makes them happy all the time. Love is not always pleasant to the recipient. As we love God’s children, don’t think this means giving everyone what they want all the time. If you do this, then some of your brothers and sisters will essentially lock you in the closet until Dad gets home.
Nevertheless, God calls us to love His kids because He has loved us.
Prayer: Lord, when I am struggling to love someone, let me remember they are your child, and help me to love them because I love you. Amen.