How much do you love God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I want you to picture in your mind your enemy. Okay? This is the person you either hate the most or at the least, love the least. Who is this? Well, it could be someone historical, like Hitler. Based on your politics, it could be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Donald Trump. It could be a former friend or an ex-lover. It could be a family member. It could be someone who hurt your spouse and/or kids.
It could even be yourself.
Now this is a personal theory of mine. I think it’s Scriptural, but like many other theories, I welcome feedback. 1 John tells us that if you do not love your neighbor, who you have seen, you cannot love God, who you have not seen.
My theory is you can only love God as much as you love that person that I told you to think about.
I’m not saying I’m crazy about this theory either. It’s really hard when I think about it. I don’t have a lot of personal enemies I can think of, but when I think of people who have hurt my wife Allie, I do have anger towards them. One of the ways I look at how I see people is I ask how they treat my wife. If they treat her well, all is good. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter what else they do.
Yet even those people that hurt her, I am told to love them.
This doesn’t mean I have warm fuzzies with them or particularly good feelings towards them. It also doesn’t mean that I give up the call for justice. However, I think it is a problem if we want punishment for the sake of punishment itself. For some who have hurt Allie, I pray for their brokenness that they will realize what they’ve done and repent.
If you have delight at the thought of someone going to Hell, you have it wrong. After all, if it were not for the grace of God in your life, you would be going the same way, and that’s a statement that doesn’t care if you’re a Calvinist or an Arminian or anywhere else. All is by grace.
It doesn’t mean also that you have to particularly like that person. It makes perfect sense if you don’t want to be around a past abuser and in many cases, it could even be wise, but it could mean that rather than hate them, you look at them with pity. What are they doing to destroy themselves by their actions? I don’t mean suicidal or self-harm actions, but actions where they are destroying what they are meant to be.
C.S. Lewis once said to not ask if you love your neighbor. Live like you did. We often think love is a feeling. This is particularly true in the area of romance. Many of you see the way I treat my wife on here and some have in person and you would probably think I’m constantly filled with lovely and warm feelings towards my wife.
No. Not really.
But the point is you do loving things anyway and it’s not a feeling of love that grows, but it’s rather a mindset of love. So it can be with your neighbor. If you find yourself genuinely praying for your neighbor, you will come eventually to love your neighbor, provided you come with the heart that God expects you to have.
Again, this is just a theory of mine, but I do think it’s scriptural. I welcome your feedback.