May 22, 2020

I John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. 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. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


Most of us probably react to this verse in one of two ways (or both):

First, it’s a commandment, and we live in a culture that doesn’t particularly like being told what to do. But John is specific here. This is not just good advice, it’s a command:  “…whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Our second reaction to this verse: We think we’re already loving our brother just fine. (Of course I do! I’m a Christian, right?) Unfortunately, too often we fail to see our natural tendency to overvalue our own goodness. We always assume we’re the “good guy” in the parables (for example, we naturally think we’re the Good Samaritan and not the priest who ignores the wounded). But do we truly “love our brother”, as God intends? Our sermon last Sunday beautifully challenged us on this point.  Our speaker was confronted by God to extend love to… the killer of his friend. To greet him warmly in the street! To bring him food! Who can extend that kind of love?

The answer? None of us. Which is why we must get it from God first.

John also writes, “We love because He first loved us.” Our capacity to truly love our brother starts with the One who loved us so much He willingly died to save us.

Are you getting that kind of outrageous love from God in your personal life today? And if so, are you extending it to those who desperately need it around you?

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