We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Ryan Grinnell.
1 John 4:20
“ If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Think back on the past week of your life. How many situations, tasks, or times did you say you hated something? Maybe it was paying bills or driving in traffic? How about during a workout where a movement was programmed that you absolutely can’t stand (burpees, anyone)?
We use the word “hate” so frequently that the significance of what it really means has been watered down to nothing. Merriam- Webster defines “hate” as “intense hostility and aversion deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” That puts it in a completely different category than, say, not liking kale.
The first sentence of the verse today is a powerful conviction. “If we say we love God but hate our brothers and sisters, we are liars.” John drops a truth bomb right on our toes. How many of us, if we’re being honest, can say those words haven’t come out of our mouths recently when speaking about someone?
The words we use can tell us a lot about ourselves. You may be thinking, “I said I hate that person, but I really don’t HATE them.” Let’s take a closer look at what John is telling us and see why he is saying it. For us to love God we must also love our neighbor. Our white neighbor, black neighbor, Muslim neighbor, atheist neighbor, gay neighbor, and the list goes on and on.
It isn’t hard to look at the climate in the world today and see the hate spewing from people’s words and actions. Political, racial, civil and social unrest are everywhere. Can you love others who don’t think, act, or love like you do?
Loving God is relationship with Him. Love is an action verb, not a feeling. But it is also about doing the same to all those individuals around us. We may be the only love of Christ that someone in your life sees. Feelings can fool us. Love will cause us to stay rooted and grounded, no matter what.
Father, search me and show me the areas in my life where I am falling short of loving others. Open my eyes to see where I need to show the love to others that you show me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Pray Psalm 139:23-24. “Examine me God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me along the eternal way.” When He shows you an area that you need to work on, submit it to Him and follow His guidance.
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