1 John 4:20-21
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. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Complementarian, Fundamentalist, Protestant, Orthodox – the list goes on and on. Since Christianity’s beginnings, we have found ourselves aligned with likeminded people and affixed labels to our groupings. While there is nothing wrong with spending time in God’s presence with those who have a similar heart, there is an issue when you allow those similarities to divide.
Paul calls out the Church for this very reason in 1st Corinthians. Much like modern Christians, our forefathers said “I follow this one” or “I follow that one”, fighting over their contrasting doctrines or teachings. In the same way the apostle told them your groupings don’t matter and pointed them to the cross, we need to be reminded of the same thing. The ressurected Christ is what matters, not who taught you about him.
1 John 4 encourages us to impart love to one another because it is reflective of our ability to love God fully. When we disassociate ourselves from other Christians based on what church they attend or what their lives look like, is that really an outpouring of love? Or is love embracing someone who is totally different from you and loving them, serving beside them because of the love God shares with you?
We are a family – comprised of brothers and sisters from all walks of life, carrying our own personal issues and stories. Our differences have the ability to cause tension and even fights at times but we must remember that we are a family brought together by the love of our Father. We have to work to ensure that the ways in which we are different reflect the diversity and inclusion of our Body and not an ungodly divisive spirit. If we are unable to love one another and we share commonalities, how can we express love to people who walk a different path?