“This is the sign that we love God’s children, that is, if we love God and do His commandments.” 1 John 5: 2
It is easier to get along with people who are not Christians but who look good in their lives, than making friends with Christians who are in chaos. Perhaps many people who think so because of their personal experience. Indeed, it seems difficult for us to like those who claim to be Christian but often disappoint us. Loving others is not easy, but loving people who believe is often more difficult, especially because of differences among groups and denominations.
How can we cultivate love for all believers? The first verse of 1 John 5 says that “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and everyone who loves the one who gives birth loves also the one who was born of him.” Thus, if we on the one hand love Jesus who was born of God, we must realize that our difficulties in loving our fellow Christians who are also born of God, are actually contrary to our love for God. Moreover, if we can love the invisible God, we should be able to love the visible brother in the faith. Verse 1 John 4: 20 states that if someone says, “I love God,” and he hates his brother, he is a liar, because whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, it is impossible to love God whom he has not seen.
Are there any indication that we love our brothers and sisters? Our opening verse says that the mark is reflected in how we love God and obey His commandments. This may sound like circular logic. But those who love God certainly do His commandments.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14: 15.
What God commanded His people was summarized in two ways: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: and the second commandment is, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12: 30 – 31. If we love one another, we will inevitably love everyone, including those we do not like and those who do not like us. Clearly love for one another should include love for fellow believers.
As sinful humans, the love we have is not love for others, but love for ourselves. We often love others when it brings us good fortune and happiness. However, since we have been adopted as children of God, we have the ability to love one another with pure love (agape). Thus, true love does not come from us, but must come from God. “My beloved brethren, let us love one another, for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4: 7.
We may be ready and willing to love one another, but it is not complete if our love is not passed on to our fellow believers. Love for the brothers and sisters in Christ should be even more important because they are children of God just like us. Let our love grow in Him who has given us a new life!
“Therefore, as long as there is opportunity for us, let us do good to all, but especially to our fellow believers.” Galatians 6:10