Loving God By Loving Others
When tests come through those who irritate me, I have to ask myself, “Am I loving God by loving them?” If I am not loving them, I am not loving God. John’s repeated admonitions in 1 John about personal relationships convicts me every time. For example, “If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen.” He gave us a clear command, that all who love God must also love their brothers and sisters (1 John 4:20-21). Oh me! Jesus is the standard and he is the means, the power, and the grace for any person or situation. He never leaves us without the power to obey his commands, because he is living in us to obey. “I have told them about Your nature; and I will continue to speak of Your name in order that Your love, which was poured out on Me, will be in them. And I will also be in them” (John 17:26). I stumble and fall over this so much more than I like to admit, in my heart and thoughts even if I project a façade of “nice.” I suspect a lot of people do. And then only asking God to forgive us will do. About repentance, C. S. Lewis said, “No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to…give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II. As Christians day by day Jesus and the Holy Spirit live in us to love others as the Father does. As the Voice translation says, “Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit” (Gal 5:25). That is liberation in love.