By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Jesus said to love one another (John 13:34). Do we meditate on how we can do this? Do we understand the selflessness that is required of us to be able to love one another?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV): Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
We must love one another with a love that we do not expect to be repaid. Remember, it is better to give than receive (Acts 20:35). And why must we love one another in the manner we read in 1 Corinthians 13?
1 John 4:20 (ESV): Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Now some will say, well I don’t hate them. Hate is such a strong word and I don’t know if I hate anyone. We have to understand the word hate did not mean to them what it does to us today. The Greek word for hate here can be translated as “loving less than another” or simply “love less”. For example, you read in,
Luke 14:26 (ESV): If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus is not telling us to hate our family the way we understand hate today. He is telling us, we have to love our family and ourselves less than we love serving the Lord. Jesus didn’t want His disciples to be doubled minded and hindered by a greater commitment to themselves and/or their family. John is telling us the same thing when he says we cannot love our brothers and sisters less than we love God. This concept is consistent with the parable of the sheep and the goat.
Matthew 25:44-45 (NKJV): “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
We do not have the ability to love man less than we love God; because the manner in which we love our fellow brother is the exact manner in which God will consider our love for Him.