Those who say, ‘“I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” vs. 201 John 4:14-21
Occasionally we run into people whose piety is unmistakable–it fairly oozes out of them as they regularly invoke the name of Jesus in their conversation. They know the marks of holiness well, and make sure that such attributes are always on full display. It’s a bit of a surprise then, as we begin to get further acquainted, that some such folks harbor deep and abiding contempt for those who are different from themselves. Many don’t even attempt to conceal their prejudices and animosity. And yet they would consider themselves to be fine faithful Christians. If it weren’t so sad it would be a joke! The depth of our love for God is measured by the depth of our love for the least among us. It is impossible for us to love God and despise our neighbor. Admittedly we are not going to like everyone that we meet on the Way–some folks are jerks and there’s no way to sugarcoat their behaviors. It even pains us to be around them. But loving them is different, and if God can love them, so can we. Obviously this is one of the huge challenges of our faith walk–and we won’t always succeed. But loving the difficult can become habitual–and with practice God’s love will be regularly seen in us even by our enemies.
Thought for the Day: What folks are hard for me to love?