“If a man say, 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?” (1 John 4:20).
I don’t have to tell you about the kind of division we are feeling in our society.
I have heard some even question if we could have get to a place where we truly learn how to respect one another. I recently did a Bible Study lesson with our youth entitled “What is hate.”
Knowing that our children feel the tension and are well aware of the many happening in our society; God moved on my heart to discuss this topic.
One of the mistakes I think we make is overthinking what hate and love actually means or how simple they both can look. We often try to be deep to display our intellect, but in reality we miss the mark.
Therefore, I simplified the words for our youth that I want to share with you.
Hate is simply the lack of value for human life. When you look at the dark history of America, especially in relation to slavery, and the crimes committed against groups of people stemmed from hate.
No value was given towards that group’s life. The problem is that it can happen today self-consciously.
Think about how certain groups are portrayed and how their value is somehow minimize.
Think about the returning citizen from prison who can’t even established himself or herself, because they are not valued. Think about those living in certain areas and how less they are valued compared to others in different areas.
This may be tough for some, because it seems like a simple line to cross. Well, it is, especially with the meaning of love I give you. John simply and very practical ask a question “How can you
hate you brother/(sister) who you see, but say you love God who you can’t?”
Love is having a general respect and concern for human life. John is not talking about a deep intimate love. There is no deep intimacy needed, here.
When you see you brother and sister, whom you can touch even, you should have a basic respect and concern for human life.
Part of agape love is “selfless love.” One can also look at that to mean to remove your self-perceived ideals towards another person to love them in spite of your personal beliefs. When you think about Jesus dying on the cross for us all, the truth is we were nowhere near and will never be on “His level.” Yet, He was our propitiation.
Here how we need to move forward. Forget about where people should be and love them anyway. Just simply respect and be concerned for ALL human life. Jesus died for all and all you have to do is respect all. That is how we get to the peace we all desire to see.
DeRon Harper is the Assistant Pastor of Baconton Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.