Don’t Be A Liar!

1 John 4:19-21 (NIV)
We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
John says that loving God and loving people go hand in hand.  He says that you cannot love God, whom you have not seen, and hate people, whom you do see and who are made in the image of God.  If you say that you love God but you do not love people, John says that you are a liar.  God loves people and so should we.  God loves the world so much that He sent Jesus to be our Savior and Lord.  If this is what God would do to demonstrate His love for people, how can we who love God hate anyone, especially our brothers and sisters in the church?
We won’t always get along in the church, but we are commanded to love our brothers and sisters.  We will have disagreements and arguments.  We will bump into each other and grate on each other’s nerves.  We’re human and imperfect.  We need to show grace to each other.  We need to be merciful as God is merciful.  We need to love each other as God has loved us.  We need to forgive each other when we sin against one another.  As God has forgiven us, so we need to forgive one another.
Love is not our default mode.  It is far easier to hold a grudge or to hate.  Love is the tough choice.  Whether it is your spouse or your children or the person in the pew next to you, you are commanded to love them.  She might have gossiped about you.  He might have stabbed you in the back.  They might have attempted to ruin your reputation.  Your first instinct is to lash out and get revenge.  God says to fight that instinct and love and forgive them instead.  God forgave you for all of your sins, how can you do anything less than to forgive those who sin against you?
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I need Your love and forgiveness in my life.  I do not always show love to others.  I sometimes harbor bitterness and resentment in my heart.  Help me to forgive as I have been forgiven.  I thank You for loving me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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