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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball

Love Your Sister & Brother

Do you want to love God?

Then you must also love your brother and sister.

We love because he first loved us.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
And he has given us this command:
Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4 v 19 - 21

In families we are meant to love our siblings. Sadly, this is not always the case.

In the church family we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus said,

By this everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another.
John 13 v 35

Sadly, over the last two thousand years, the world has often seen very little love shown in the church, which is the family of God.

Loved by God

It is important to know, deep down in your soul, that you are loved by God.

It isn’t dependent on what you do or have done.

It doesn’t depend on what you haven’t done.

It isn’t because of who you are or what your character is like.

It is because of the character of God.

It is who he is.

God is Love.

Notice that the Word of God doesn’t say ‘Love is God, but ‘God is Love’.

Living in God

Do you want to live in God?

Whoever lives in love,
lives in God and God in them.
John 4 v 16

I’m not sure what living in love actually means, but I have met some truly lovely, loving people, whose first thought is how to help and serve others.

That’s my aim. To live in love. To live in God.

The verses above give us a way of testing our love of God

– Do we love our sisters and brothers?

For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

I really like the way that John talks about one of the great mysteries of our faith – How to live in God – and juxtaposes it against the practicalities of loving our sister who we see.

How to love your sister

lord make me a channel of your peace prayer illustrated in Assisi

So, think of the person who irritates you the most, who you know you should care about, but really you want to avoid. You don’t have to like them, as Martin Luther King says so eloquently, but we are commanded to love them.

I challenge you to do something kind to show them love.

If we think love is an emotion, a warm, fuzzy feeling, it’s hard.

If we think we love someone because we admire and like them, it’s impossible.

Some people are just not nice!

We don’t like them, so why would we do anything for them, even if they are our brother? We don’t have to like them or to approve or condone their actions.

We can hate the sin but love the sinner.

We love them because God loves them, and his love is in us.

We can decide to love them by doing something for them.

Love is a decision.

We can learn to pray and live this wonderful prayer,

which has been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.

Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.

Where there is discord, let me bring union.

Where there is error, let me bring truth.

Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.

Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love,

For it is in giving that one receives,

It is in self-forgetting that one finds,

It is in pardoning that one is pardoned,

It is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Philippine Madrigal Singers

The Lord has always wanted his people to show love by being fair, upholding justice and caring for the poor. Read more in True Fasting

For a longer read Abide in Me , which is about six Christians who showed love by fighting injustice, indifference and poverty.

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