“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
We must remember that John is writing to fellow believers. So his message is for us. He then presents a hypothetical case. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar … ” Let’s make this real simple. If a believer says he loves God but he hates a fellow believer, he is a liar. Now don’t shoot the messenger. This is a very valuable truth. I can hear it now: “I never actually said that I hated them.” Did you know that hatred doesn’t have to be spoken? It can be demonstrated by our actions. “You want ME to sit in the same pew with THEM? THAT will never happen.” Seems pretty clear to me there is no love lost there.
But John goes on: “ … he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” It is pretty difficult to love someone who is intangible … we can’t actually see them. Countless numbers of believers gather every Sunday to profess their love for a God they have never seen. They have seen the results of what this God has done. But it is all of faith – faith in One we cannot see. But we go to the house of God every Sunday and meet with part of the family of God. We see them, we speak to them, we sing with them, we worship with them, etc. It is far easier to love one that you can see than it is one you cannot see.
So what is John telling us here?” I believe he is telling us to stop acting like a Pharisee and pretending to be someone we really are not. It is possible to LOVE someone and not LIKE their actions. That happens in marriages around the world every day. So, let’s get real and stay real and love our fellow believers in a way that none could ever deny. Just my thoughts …