Before we dive in, let’s do some self-reflection. Think about the people in this world you would say you love. Now think about the people you would say that you hate.
Honesty corner: Outside of my family, I would’ve said that there were 10–15 people in my life that I loved. On the flip side, I would’ve said that there wasn’t any particular person I hated — though I could’ve listed a handful of people who generally annoy me.
Out of all the people in my life, from work to church to friends, I would only tell 10–15 of them that I loved them? That’s not very Christian of me.
I didn’t see how antithetical to the Christian faith that was until recently and I’ve been convicted ever since.
‘Absence of love’
During a study of Jude, Jackie Hill Perry said something along the lines of “The absence of love is hate,” meaning if you don’t love someone, then you hate them. There is no middle ground for Christ followers.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” This is often quoted at weddings, but it should be reflected in every relationship in our lives. We love others because of the unconditional, unstoppable love that God has poured out on us.
Will people annoy and frustrate us? Sure. We’re all sinful humans here. But the love of Christ that flows through us and from us should lead us quickly to compassion, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
In our darkest, most sinful moments, God showered us with His love and grace so we thank Him, we obey Him and we give the same treatment to those made in His image.
Pause and pray
Earlier in 1 John it says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness” (v. 9). There it is. You absolutely cannot walk in Christ’s light and hate anyone. You cannot walk in God’s love and not reflect that love to everyone. If you do not love, you hate, and if you hate you still walk in darkness.
So I challenge you today to treat everyone with love. And when love isn’t coming easily, pause and pray. Ask God to change your heart and your attitude. Don’t stay in your bitterness. Love as you have been loved, forgive as you have been forgiven, show mercy and grace as you have been shown mercy and grace.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).