If someone says ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one whom does not love his brother who he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
– 1 John 4:20
He sat perched on the examination table, his gangly legs hanging over the side.
The crisp white paper crackled under him as he shifted his weight. He just wanted out of there.
The doctor checked his eyes, his ears, and had him say “Ahhhh.” Then he glanced down at his arm. A nasty red semi-circle emblazoned his forearm.
“How did that happen?” the doctor asked nonchalantly. But I noticed that he asked my son and not me. An irrational fear of being accused of child abuse shot through me, even though I had nothing to do with the mark.
“My brother bit me,” came the honest reply.
The doctor was satisfied. I was embarrassed my kids could be so brutal to each other. But my battling boys were hardly the first to pass through the doctor’s door. Brotherly violence has a long history. Ever since Cain took down his brother Abel, families have been at each other’s throats.
It’s hard to put up with each other because we know us too well.
It’s easy to be kind to a stranger. We don’t have to live with him. We don’t care that he doesn’t pick up his clothes off the floor or doesn’t like to share his candy.
Jesus commanded us to love everyone. He knew, though, the true test of our commitment to Him. He understood our devotion to other members of His Body would be the litmus test of our love. It alone gives integrity to our claim of discipleship.
He did not say, “All men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for the poor and needy.”
He did not say, “All men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for the unsaved.”
He did not say, “All men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for the Bible.”
All these things do mark the man and woman of God. It is, however, our true devotion to other believers that speaks to the world. When we quit the catcalls and the accusations and the infighting, then all men will see we have a Father worth knowing.
How kind are you to your brothers and sisters in the faith?
By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
– John 13:35