1 John 4:20-21
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Have you noticed how much easier it is to love someone from a distance than to love them when you see them every day? It’s easy to say that you love God because you can’t see Him and He can’t get on your nerves, whereas the people you rub shoulders with every day most certainly do challenge your desire and ability to love them from time to time! In fact, you might be at loggerheads with those who are supposed to be your closest family members even right now, yet you would claim without a doubt that you still love God. You need to be aware that, by God’s standards, your love for Him isn’t real until it affects your house, and until those around you feel its warmth.
It’s a hard truth to swallow, but we owe it to ourselves to step back and take an inventory of how people feel when we are around. Are they pleased to see us? Does our showing up spark a light of happy anticipation of good in our family, friends and co-workers? If so, this is the evidence of our love for God!
Coming to church just to be there for yourself and keep yourself to yourself, however, must come to an end. If you are not willing to affect someone’s life with love, there is a missing piece of evidence that would exonerate you should God ask you if you love Him. You can’t afford to neglect this any longer.
If people are afraid of you because of what you habitually say or do, you are not a person of love. If your husband or wife is miserable and unhappy, you have some work to catch up on! I made the determination that as soon as my wife tells me I hurt her, I don’t try to defend myself or deny it, I simply ask her, “what did I do? How did I hurt you?” I know that she is for me, and she is not trying to get at me or bring me down, and my commitment to her is to be better for her all the time. I cannot spend my life out preaching to others, while I have failed to take care of my responsibilities at home.
Loving others is when you decide that you won’t turn your strength on them to wound them or hurt them, no matter how frustrated you feel. You know you love a person when you won’t lie to them, manipulate them for your own advantage or cheat on them because you just can’t bring yourself to do that to them. Love puts a restraint on you; it causes you to put away your record of wrongs and believe the best about them at the toughest times. Whatever has ticked you off or offended you, love conquers all, because God Himself IS love.
Father your perfect love casts out fear, and I believe that as I walk in love, no one but the devil will be afraid of me. I decide right now to be a person of love. Help me to do better in all my relationships, to demonstrate and flesh out the love of God to my family, friends and acquaintances. Thank you for giving me the grace to handle every annoyance and every offense without hitting out. Your grace is more than enough and your power is made perfect in my weakness. Thank you Lord!