“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” 1 John 4:20-21
This scripture is designed to instruct Christians that it’s not okay to hate or disregard one of our brethren in the faith. Frankly, we shouldn’t hate anyone. Hate is an ugly emotion. The definition doesn’t quite do it justice, for hatred is far worse than simply having a strong dislike for someone. Having a hostile attitude toward someone is getting closer. It’s the opposite of love. It’s selfish and self-serving. It is offensive and repulsive. If a person says they love God, yet have a distinctly hostile attitude toward one of like faith, then that person is kidding themselves and the love of God is not in them.
Scripture teaches us that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another (John 13:35 NLT*), so why do we have so much trouble loving one another. We can love those that agree with us doctrinally or that are pleasant to be with, but what of all the others in life that may rub us the wrong way? Does God not love them as well? You never know how many folks have turned their back on Christ and all He stands for because he felt shunned by the church he attended. This is not a suggestion. God commands us to love all those in the body of Christ regardless of how we may feel about them.
How can we say we love a God we cannot see, yet have distain for those who live all around us and worship together with us each Sunday? This is something we must diligently work on. This is part of being like Christ in our daily life. If we don’t imitate Christ, then what’s the point of saying we’re a Christian? Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
NOTE: New Living Translation (NLT)
* “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”