“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 and was buried. With white hair and a long white beard he was so feeble they had to carry him to the meetings. While at the meetings he would bless those who attended and would cry:
“Little children, love one another, little children, love one another!”
As we see in chapter four of First John, John gives us ten reasons why we must love one another. One reason is that God is love and if we plug into the love God is we make contact with God. As we become a conduit of God’s love, God makes contact with us. John gives us a second reason that if we say we love God and we hate our brother, we are liars.
Because if we do not love the brother we can see how can we love God Whom we cannot see?
His 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.
Dick Woodward, 09 July 2010