7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:7-21 (ESV)
Jesus said that the two greatest commands are to love God and love others. That is consistent all throughout Scripture yet so many people continue to miss it. This passage from 1 John says that you cannot love God if you hate others. That seems pretty clear to me. I shared this on Facebook today. I apologize if you have already seen it.
I believe that God created us in His own image. Given that, how can I look on any human being with contempt? To do so would be to show contempt to the God who created him (or her). To devalue the life of another (whether through racism, sexism, classism…pick your prejudice) is to tell Jesus that those he loves (and died for) are not important. If you call yourself a Christian then there is no room for hate in your heart or your vocabulary.
Unfortunately, the Church has not always done a good job of loving others. A quick glance at history will point out many errors that Christians have made. Wars, violence, racism, and abuse have occurred at the hands of those who claimed to follow Christ. There are still those who practice hate in the name of God. I am only one person but I apologize to all of those who have been harmed in the name of Jesus. Please know that Jesus did not encourage or support those who hurt you. He loves you. He died for you. I pray that he forgives those who have misused his name and heals those have have been victimized through it.
May God raise up believers who are willing to stand up for grace, mercy, and love even if others refuse to.
Grace and peace.