Loving God Includes Loving People
Read 1 John 4:19–21 (MSG)
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
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.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “I love my job, except for the people”? Usually those who say this are only half-joking. Loving other people is hard! Everyone does and says things we don’t like or that rub us the wrong way. Their opinions annoy us. Their viewpoints are different (even wrong we might say!). But we are called to love them. When we do so, we show the love we have for God. And in the same way, when we fail to love, we show a lack of love for God. Indeed, when we are unloving toward our brothers and sisters, that should spark us to reflect on the state of our hearts toward God.
- When have you noticed in yourself a particular lack of love toward others? What was going on in your life during that time? How would you characterize your heart toward God during that time?
- What person or group of people do you have a hard time loving? Why is that? What do you sense God’s invitation is to you through today’s passage as it relates to that person or group of people?
- What’s going on in your life when you seem to have great capacity to love even people you typically find hard to love? How would you characterize your heart toward God during those seasons?
God, thank You for enabling me to love others. I want to do it better—I want to love like You do, with sacrifice and honor. Open my eyes to the ways I am not loving others well in this season. And for those I know I’m not loving well, expand my heart, God. Give me the ability. Give me the patience, the gentleness, and the goodness that will allow me to love as You have called me. Amen.