19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 4:19-20 (NIV)
Both I John 4 and 5 address love and how we should love God and one another. It also deals a lot with how our relationship should be with God, with the world, and one another.
19We love because he first loved us.
God loved us first and foremost. This should be the centerpiece of our faith. He loves EVERYONE. There is not a person that you have ever met that God hasn’t loved. Period.
20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
I think the term “brother” here means anyone else we know in the faith, and may even stretch to neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, or that person who took the last parking spot at the mall. This could literally mean brother or sister, but friend, or like John’s post yesterday, even our enemy. God commands us to love others as we love Him. This is extremely difficult and is one of the hardest things to follow in the Christian faith.
I think many times, the 2nd part of that verse, where John talks about how if we don’t deal well with something that we can see, touch, smell, hear, etc., then how can we deal with something we cannot see, touch, smell, or hear?
21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
MUST, not “should,” or “ought to.” MUST love his brother. This is not a choice.
Dear Lord, I am sorry if I have ever missed an opportunity to love someone I should have. I especially pray for conviction now for me or for anyone reading this post who is struggling with this. If I have turned away from someone that I should love, then I am sorry and change my heart. If there is someone right now who you need me to love and I am ignoring your command, then please reveal that to me. Let me not miss this command of yours.