Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phoney, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see? For He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to others.
1 John 4:20-21
Sometimes, in life, we can have people around us that really test our patience. They aren’t the nicest of people, usually have a chip on their shoulder, and blame everyone around them for their issues in life. Sometimes they can bring out the worst in us. Some people are really hard to like, let alone love.
I personally found this verse challenging, because I have somebody in my life that I really struggle with. I prefer to not be around them, this person is very abrupt, rude and impatient. She’s not nice to be around.
Funnily enough, sometimes, we ourselves are really hard to like, let alone love. We don’t always respond well to situations, and we too can be misunderstood and judged for our words and our actions. We are not perfect. The bible talks about our need to remove the log from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from someone else’s.
Loving people we don’t necessary like all that much is difficult, but the pain that we ourselves go through with dealing with these difficult people is nothing compared to the pain and anguish Jesus felt and experienced the day he was taken captive and brutally beaten and whipped. He was forced to carry his own cross up to Calvary, where they nailed his hands and feet to the cross. He hung from a cross naked, knowing that His Fathers will for His life was to die so that mankind could live on.
If Jesus can love me despite my sinful nature, I need to die to self and show that same mercy and grace to the person in my life in whom I struggle with. I have wrestled with 1 John 4:20-21 and I admit that I really struggle to ‘love’ this person, but Jesus died for me, as well as for her. I decided to pray that God would help me love her, because I want to honour God with my obedience to His word and desire for my life. Maybe I’ll have to fake it for a bit, but I know that God will help me as I try to respond to her better.