If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
“I’m a Christian, but I hate Muslims! I hate gays! I hate fat people! I hate Republicans, Democrats, Independents, liberals, conservatives…” Have you heard—or said—something like this: “I love God, but I hate_____?” In our minds, such thinking makes sense. After all, God is perfect and easy to love. People, not so much. Some people seem to deserve our hatred by the way they treat us or the things they stand for. But God clamps down pretty hard on that kind of attitude, even going so far as to say that if we claim to love Him but we hate other people, then we are liars. Liars? Isn’t that kind of harsh?
What we forget is that every human being—even those who belong to groups we shun—is a unique creation designed by God Himself to reflect His glory in a way that no one else can. C. S. Lewis explains it this way: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal...remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…” To truly love God is to love what He loves and hate what He hates. He hates sin, but He loves people, so we must follow suit. We learn to love God by seeing His reflection in even those hard-to-love individuals. We love a God we cannot see by loving the people we can see.
Do you hold on to prejudice and hatred toward someone while claiming to love God? You can’t do both.