by Pastor Mark Jordan
“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?” (1 John 4:20, NLT)
I hate to admit it, but when I first read the verse for today, I felt it was provocative. Seriously? Have we gotten so polarized in our society where I had to think twice about posting a Bible verse warning people against hate in their hearts? It seems we have reached a point where hate is acceptable, as long as we hate the right person or people group. Friends, this cannot be.
We read in 1 John 5:2 that we show our love for God by the way we show love for God’s children. All of them. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everyone, but it does mean is we must disagree differently. It seems we are losing our ability to disagree honorably, turning brothers and sisters in the faith into adversaries, enemies who must be destroyed.
If you find yourself in a position where you must pick sides, the option is clear — choose God. On God’s side, you must square Jesus’ command to love as God loves, which includes your enemies and those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Easy? No. But it is a higher calling that beckons us closer to God, whose heart is full of love, grace, and mercy. May we strive for such perfection and see a way to love.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your grace that loves me in spite of all my faults. Forgive me for the times I am not forgiving with others in their faults. I want to love you with my whole heart, and I recognize that means I must create space for those with whom I disagree. By the power of your Holy Spirit, help me to love people, even those I do not like. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.