Jesus said to his disciples one day that they shall know that you are my disciples by the love that you share one toward another. (John 11:35)
We are living in a day and time that hate is prevailing in this country. As I look at the news, hate crimes seem to be increasing. Political parties are voicing hate for one another. Our country is becoming so divided by hate. Even many who call themselves Christians are resorting to hatefulness.
However, I am convinced that love makes the difference. Regardless of your feeling and opinions about what is going on in the world, we should still love one another.
A friend of mine, the late Rev. B.T. Smith once remarked, “You have to love those, who don’t love you.” It is easy to love those who love you, but what about those who mistreat you or abuse you. What about those who hate you?
The Bible teaches us to love our enemies and do good to those who mistreat you. Loving others is the mark of a Christian. If you say you are a child of God, if you say that you have been born again, if you say that you are saved, then you should be loving one another.
Love is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit. The bible says that God is love. (1 John 4:8) When we become born again, God changes our nature. We take on the nature of God. The Bible declares that we are new creatures and old things are passed away and all things are become new. (1 Corinthians 5:17) The things we used to do, we ought not do anymore.
In other words, we should see things differently and we should be able to love those who don’t love us. We don’t have to agree with them nor do we have to cuddle up with them. If we love them, we will not treat them like they treat us.
I recognize that it is not easy to love those who hate and despise you. It is not easy to respect those who don’t respect you. It goes against our human nature. Our human nature is to treat others like they treat us. Our human nature is to render evil for evil. Our human nature is to get even with those who wrong us.
However, we have to allow the God in us to do the loving. We can’t do it, but God can. We must step back and let God do it through us. Love makes the difference.
We may not understand it or like it, but we can’t truly love God without loving one another. 1 John 4:20 says, “If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
God says that we are liars when we say we love God and cannot love one another. I might not like the things you say and do, but I need to love you. I must pray for you. We are all different. We will not always agree with one another, but the one thing I must do as a child of God is love you.
I challenge you today to allow love to be your guide. Be all you can for the Lord by loving those who are created in the likeness and imagine of God. God is love and we are the children of God. We will be known by the love we share one toward another. Love truly will make the difference in your life.
Dr. Alvin Jackson is pastor for St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church at 48 Elam Road in Hinesville and a member of the Liberty County United Ministerial Alliance.