LOVE GOD? = LOVE OTHERS
If 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. - 1 John 4:20
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” - 1 John 2:11
I saw this picture recently and it really made me scratch my head. I don’t really have a 100% “for sure this is right” opinion on it, but it did make me think about the verses shown above.
Does God really prefer the “Kind Atheist” compared to the “Hateful Christian”? Well my answer would be No but according to the verses above, there really should be no such thing as a “Hateful Christian”. 1 John 4:20 is clear as day that if a Christian claims to love God (which is the most important commandment) but hates his brother, then he’s a liar, and he in fact doesn’t love God at all. He has fooled himself. To me, that screams that the “Hateful Christian” is in fact not a Christian at all. Maybe I’m digging deep there, but I don’t think so. I’m just agreeing with what the Word of God says.
Jesus said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:27-31
I know that I have struggled with this notion to love everyone: To turn the other cheek when someone wrongs me. To feed my enemies when they are hungry. To forgive everyone who wrongs me not just seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22) because Christ has forgiven me and saved me by his grace. This is a very, very, hard thing to do, but it isn’t a request, it is a COMMAND FROM GOD.
So why do I bring this up? I bring this up to encourage everyone (myself included) to begin to show the Love of Christ to all of those around us today. Our enemies, our friends, the Buddhist, the Homosexuals, the Atheists, the ugly, the poor, the rich, the prisoners, the widows, everyone! If we claim that we love Jesus, and He is our Savior and our Hope, then any hate in our hearts that we have for another must be replaced by love. Like I said, God did not request this, He commanded it, and even went as far as to say that IF WE REALLY LOVE HIM LIKE WE CLAIM, WE WILL NOT HATE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. It’s clear and straightforward.
So let’s examine our hearts today. Any grudge we’re holding on to, any person that has done us wrong, we need to make that relationship right. We need to supernaturally, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit turn that hatred into love and compassion. We must show mercy to them because the Creator shows mercy to us! I pray that today, no one would ever be able to describe any of us as “Hateful Christians” but that atheists would begin to question their non-belief because of the genuine love we show to everyone! Amen.