Sunday, January 13, 2019

If We Truly Love God, Then We Will Also Love Our Neighbors As Ourselves

          "If anyone says, 'I love God', but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:20-21)
 
          We cannot claim to love God while possessing contempt and ill will in our hearts for other people. It is not possible for us to obey Him while holding animosity toward other people. We have even been admonished by the Apostle Paul to not let the sun set on our anger. Remaining in such a spiritual condition can have ominous consequences (Ephesians 4:26). Jesus Christ Himself associated hatred with murder (Matthew 5:22-26).

          Hatred is incompatible with the self-sacrificial love demonstrated by Jesus Christ in making atonement for our sins. It is out of touch with Christian charity in entirety. Thus, people who claim to be serving God faithfully who at the same time are constantly holding resentment for or bearing ill will for others in their hearts are liars. They are not acting according to God's revealed will for us. They are not acting consistently with their profession of faith.

          Love of God and love of neighbor fulfills the Law. Love of God and love of neighbor is the foundation for morality. We cannot grow in our relationship with Him if we do not love our neighbors. We are called to hate that which is evil. If we do not love other people as we love ourselves (that is the natural disposition of man in regard to himself), then we do not really understand what love is. If we do not love others, then we cannot have fellowship with God because He is love. Hatred is destructive to who we are as people.

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