“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?” (1 John 4:20)
Tradition tells us that the Apostle John escaped from the Isle of Patmos by swimming out to a ship that was bound for the city of Ephesus where he lived to a very old age. I have visited his grave there. With white hair and a long white beard he was so feeble they had to carry him to the meetings. At the meetings he would bless those who attended and cry: “Little children, love one another, little children, love one another!”
As we see in this chapter (1 John 4) John gives us ten reasons why we must love one another. One reason is that God is love. If we plug into the love God is, we make contact with God. As we become a conduit of His love, He makes contact with us. The Apostle John gives us a second reason that if we say we love God and hate our brother (or sister) we are liars. Because if we do not love the brother (and sister) we can see, how can we love God whom we cannot see?
John’s point is that it’s not easy to love God, because we cannot hug a Spirit. There is an inseparable vertical and horizontal dimension of this love that God is. These two dimensions form a cross.
We cannot say we love God if we do not love one another.
Do you love in these two critical dimensions?
Dick Woodward, 09 June 2010