I am reading a book called Sacred Marriage: Celebrating Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline, By Gary Thomas.
I know, I'm in the middle of 5 books. I used to wonder how in the world Josh did it, you know reading multiple books at one time, and now I can't seem to just focus on one. I've NEVER been an avid reader, but lately I just can't get enough.
Anyway, this morning I read I John 4:20-21 in a new light. I've heard this passage before and read it several other times, but my eyes were opened to something new today.
Let me start by letting you read the passage for yourself.
"If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother,
he is a liar. For anyone who does not love
his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God,
whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother."
I John 4:20-21
Here is what hit me. If I say that I love the Lord, then I better act like it by loving others. God has commanded us to do so! Not only should I be loving my husband, but I should be loving my children, my neighbor, my extended family and my friends, like they were created in God's image.
I just listed all the easier ones, though. Here's where it gets a little uncomfortable. You should love your enemies, even those who call themselves Christians who have wronged you, as well as other people who curse the name of Christ. They were all created by God. I don't see any exceptions to the love God has called us to give, do you?
That being said, I believe if we love our "brother" the way God has called us to it pleases God. It is a type of worship.
Here are a couple things that stood out to me about this issue:
"To fail to love my wife and kids rightly in the name of loving other people rightly is a sham." -Brady
The context for this verse is that Brady was asked to take a trip to share the love of Christ to a foreign country after he had committed to stay at home for a time after just having a baby. He believed that, even though he'd be doing work for the Lord, his first priority, at this time in his life, was with his wife and family.
Deuteronomy 24:5 - "If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married."
Here is what Gary had to say about this verse in Deuteronomy: "The thought that God wants me to serve him by concentrating on making my wife happy was extraordinary. Can it mean, then, that if my wife is unhappy, I'm failing God?"
Wow, I want to start thinking like that! I want to start loving like that!