Because loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:21 (MSG)
You’ve Got to Love Both – Start With Love Series – Part 3
Start with loving others.
You love the Divine by loving others. And you cannot love God if you do not love others. You can’t have it both ways. Love is a direction you move in, a way you live. Not something you pick and choose. Although it is indeed a decision and at times (mostly always) a discipline.
Love is a quest you embark on. It is the means and the end; the start and the finish.
“If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” 1 John 4:20-21.
It’s that easy. And that complicated.
It's not based on emotion or even likability. Like the story of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10 (I wrote a series on this provocative story back in June 2016 called “Neighbours.” You can search for it in the App’s archives.)
Living a life of love is inconvenient, messy, and often controversial. It will take you to places you never dreamed possible in strange, wonderful, and sometimes disturbing ways. In other words, it will wondrously mess you up.
Loving others isn’t about sweet, mushy feelings, but about preferring one another, working for the well being of others even at the expense of our own. Because that’s sometimes the generous, sacrificial nature of love. We love at the expense of our reputation, comfort, wealth, and biases. Because that is how we make peace.
I’m NOT talking about the ever popular phrase “speak the truth in love” – I have a series brewing on that one, so keep an eye out for it. No, the discomfort I’m talking about has more to do with being humble and listening and seeing and being WITH and FOR those whom you instinctually want to be ‘against.’ It’s almost the very opposite of ‘speaking the truth in love.' But more on that in the coming weeks.
After sharing the Passover Meal with his friends – right before he was taken captive, betrayed by his own people, tried and convicted for crimes he did not commit, and then murdered by the state of Rome and his own Religious leaders – Jesus made this point:
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 (MSG).
While setting your goals and making your plans and writing your lists for 2018 – or whatever rituals you do or do not do at this particular time of year – start with loving others. “Because loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” Embark on a quest of love… it’s challenging, heart-wrenching, convicting, near impossible, and completely, absolutely Divine.