Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living ©
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 (NIV))
I have often wondered how Jesus would answer someone if they had asked Him who is their brother or sister?
Perhaps Jesus would give an answer similar to the one He gave when He was asked what was the greatest commandment.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 (NIV))
Would He have answered with a parable similar to the Good Samaritan as He did when He was asked who is my neighbor? Jesus turned it around on the person who asked by telling the parable and then asked who he thought was a neighbor.
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37 (NIV))
Perhaps he would have answered similarly to when He was told His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to speak with Him.
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV))
Are we seeing a distinction between a neighbor and a brother? Are we being told to show love and mercy to our neighbors and to love those who do the will of His Father? Is there a difference between showing love and mercy to a neighbor and actually loving someone who is a member of the Body? This is a topic that will require much more than just a few paragraphs to bring to light. Suffice it to say that if someone calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are a brother or a sister to anyone and everyone who also makes that same profession. We are to love them. We are also called to show love and mercy to those who are not part of the Body of Christ. If you stop to think about this last statement, perhaps the very love and mercy that you show will be what the Lord uses to reach their heart!
To play it safe, it sounds like we should show the love of Jesus to everyone. How can we claim to love God and still have hate in our hearts for anyone whom God loves?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))
Who are your brother and sister?