The more I walk with God the more I realize that He really, really, REALLY cares about our relationships with one another. Scriptures make it painfully obvious just how much God wants us to have right relationships with one another:
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.
-1 John 4:20
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’f The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:37
Loving God and loving others are tightly connected. I remember a time when I was very offended by someone. They had hurt me deeply with their words. The Lord kept telling me that even though they were in the wrong I was not acting the way God wanted me to. I need to go and apologize for my bitter hurt behavior towards them and make it right. I needed to reconcile our relationship.
For a long time I refused. Until one day God showed me that my relationship with my friend was affecting His and mine relationship. That He had given me a grace period but now that grace ran out, if I didn’t make it right, He would no longer accept my praise and worship to Him or my quality I spent with Him. Say what? From that lesson I learned just how important God viewed my relationship with people. He cared about it so much so that He was willing to put my relationship on hold with him in order that I go and make it right with my friend. And yes I did hurry up and go make amends with my sister in Christ. I didn’t want a wedge between God and I. And when I did there was peace, forgiveness, and true reconciliation with her and I.
God really cares about our relationships with one another. It is the second greatest commandment in the bible: Love your neighbor as yourself. Between Loving God and Loving people there is no other commandment. All other commandments of the Bible fall under these two categories. If you love God you will not say his name in vein, you will honor the Sabbath, you will have no other gods before Him. If you love your neighbor you will not steal from them, kill them, lie to them and so forth. When you are truly loving God and truly loving your neighbor as yourself you will be following God’s commands without thinking about it. Say WhAT?!?
When you love people you are truly loving God. His heart is full of love for people. As John said you can’t hate people and love God. Love for people goes hand in hand with loving God. The other day I was spending time with the Lord. I was sitting on His lap snuggling with my Daddy. God reached out His hand and said “I have a present for you.” In His hand was a tiny box. I opened it and in it was a key. I asked God what it went to and He informed me it was to His heart. He was giving me a key, access to His heart. I was excited. I squealed with glee. God asked, “Do you want to go in?” I was hesitant at first, I was just happy to have the key to God’s heart. But I said yes and we walked into his heart and you know what it was full of? Guess! Just Guess! Give up?
That is right full of people walking around. All kinds of people. The first ones I interacted with were kids. Man God has a heart for children, let me tell you. They were running about when one littler girl came up to me. She was tiny and holding a teddy bear. She looked up at me and said, “I don’t have a mommy or daddy.” You could feel her longing for one and that she had never had parents to take care of her. Tears from my eyes started to flow. I looked over at God to get His approval, could I take her home and be her mommy. God and I locked eyes and He nodded in approval. I picked her up and said, “I will be your mommy and I am married to a man that will be your Daddy.” The tears just wouldn’t stop. My heart ached for this little girl. I knew God loved her so much and His heart was aching for her to be loved in this world. For her to know what it was to have a mommy and daddy. I then walked some more around and saw adults. God informed me that they needed to know His love. Would I tell them about Him. I could feel His heart towards them, longing for them, and loving them. It was almost more than I could bear.
That experience with God imprinted on my heart more than ever God’s love for people. God truly loves people. People are His prized possessions. That is what is important to God. It breaks His heart when we can’t get along. It breaks His heart when we walk away from a relationship. God longs for us to get along. He longs for us to love one another. That is why it is a commandment because it is His desire that we would love our neighbor, everyone we know, as ourselves.
Love is not easy. It is hard. I am not talking about the emotional love either. I am talking about showing a person love, even when they hurt you or don’t deserve it. That can come in all ways, shapes, and forms. I am also not talking about if a person is abusive and staying with them. That isn’t love. You can love and forgive someone from a distance with who would continue to hurt you if you stayed in close proximity with them. No I am talking about loving your enemy, I am talking about loving your boss even when they don’t always treat you right. I am talking about loving a child that doesn’t have a mommy or daddy and becoming their parent. I am talking reconciliation when it is possible.
God’s desire is for you to love like Him, unconditionally. Who is God putting in your mind right now that you need to love?