Dear COA Family,
It is easy to speak about loving one another and yet it is also the most difficult task for us to
do. This is because we are all selfish and self-centred people. But love one another we
must because this is the greatest commandment that Christ has laid down for us: love God
with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself (Matt 22:37-39).
We are to love one another because we are part of God’s family and God has first loved us.
When we live in love, God is truly present among us.
1 John 4:11-12 says,
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever
seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
So what are some characteristics of love that God demands of us?
Here is a seemingly obvious and intuitive one that is yet extremely difficult to
accomplish: do not live in hate of your brother or sister.
1 John 4 continues:
“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” (v19-20).
Now hate is not the anger we feel when someone offends us or others we love. That is a
normal emotion arising out of the love for self or others. We simply do not want to see
people get hurt because we are all created in the image of God.
However, hate is developed when we hold on to that hurt, continue to reside in feelings of
anger and wish the worst for that person. We wish that the offender would receive the worst
punishment possible leading to him or her going to hell. We do not want salvation for that
person because we feel he or she does not deserve it. This thought is not according to
God’s will because he desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth
(1 Timothy 2:4).
So what can we do?
Stop living in hate. Instead, let us confess our wrong thoughts and desires to God, choose
to extend forgiveness and leave all justice in the hands of God. After all, God says,
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19).
Instead, pray for God’s salvation for those you know are straying. If your enemies are
hungry, feed them. Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. Let us not
live in hate but choose to love our brothers and sisters with
God’s love. This is how we know that we truly love God.