To Love Your Neighbor, you have to First Love God

I have often seen a meme that argues:

I think we forget that when Jesus said, ‘love your neighbor,’ he meant your:

Democrat
Republican
Gay
Black
Muslim
Asian
The person you are mad at
Your waitress/waiter
Homeless
Your ex
Atheist
Addict
Immigrant neighbor

God loves everyone, not just those whom you get along with.

Next, an observation and a statement. Scripturally you cannot separate Love of God from Love of Neighbor – the two are inextricably tied together. So, the assumption has to be that whomever posts such a meme or statement then they are announcing themselves as lovers of God. Jesus said, ‘if you love me keep my commandments’ – John 14.15. Jesus is the Son of God, the very essence of the God of the Universe, the God of Abraham, the God found in the TaNaK and the NT. I am hoping that those who post these recognize how the love of some people is to be expressed.

For the ‘gay’ neighbor, the best expression of love is not to embrace or endorse their lifestyle because it is against God’s clear commandment. The best expression of love is to get them to recognize that it is a disorder and sin in God’s eyes and they need to turn from it.

Similarly, with the ‘atheist’ neighbor. Love them but point out to them that there is indeed a God, one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul. It is not an expression of love to affirm someone in a direction that will condemn them for eternity. Love is pointing them to the God of the Universe and his love and provision for their salvation.

So too for the ‘Muslim’ neighbor. They need to know that Jesus, not Mohammed, is the ‘Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through’ Jesus. Again, love does not affirm error but truth.

It is a wonderful thing to remind each other of whom our neighbor is and to enjoin us to love them. It is a more wonderful thing to Love God and make our love of God and his ways the source of our love of our neighbor. Our proper expression of that love is in light of how God would have each of us live as his children.

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