1 John 4:20-21If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
This is a concept that I will willingly admit to struggling with, there are certain people who at times cause me to come very close to breaking this commandment. I would not say that I go so far as hating anyone but at times certain people in certain situations have caused me to think some distinctly unchristlike thoughts.
I know that in being a Christian we should aim to be Christlike, to act as He acted and to love as He loved and I know this includes loving the unlovable. I know that this is axiomatic but it is something that we should not just brush over, something we should explore and consider carefully. I know that loving the unlovable is a paradox but through Him all things impossible become possible. If we have accepted God and the Spirit has come on us and dwells within us then these things that are humanly impossible become possible.
I was asked a little while ago by my minister about my feelings regarding my ex, what feelings remained, did I hate her or was there a part of me that still loved her. The answer I gave surprised me more than I think it surprised her. The reason being the one person in the world who has done more to hurt me than anyone else, the one person who in the eyes of the world I would have a justified cause to hate I don't. No matter how I think about it, no matter how much the memories hurt I can not bring myself to hate the person I once loved so much. I would also say that there is likely to always be a part of me that remembers and longs for the good times between us, she will always be a part of my heart even if it is a very small part.
On the flip side of this there is a particular client I have cause to deal with at work who would certainly be the cause of many a tarnished halo. He is a particularly difficult person to work with, he is one of those people who goes out of his way to provoke a response from people, someone so in need of attention he will do anything to get it even if it is negative attention. He works out exactly which buttons to press and works out which subjects are most likely to get a rise out of each individual. All of the staff at work to our shame have at times avoided this person and passed him off to a colleague and is the subject of much venting in the staff rooms. I felt particularly shamed the other day when one of my colleagues passed comment that as I intend to give my life to full time ministry and this person was getting to me it was particularly bad. Now all of my colleagues and most of the residents I work with know I am a Christian and most also know I intend to give my life to God's work and I felt I had let God down by my actions in this subject.
How can I someone who is a practising Christian and who is determined to do everything I need to to grown in the faith, someone who has grown to the point of being able to forgive the one person in the world who truly hurt me not feel the fraternal love towards this one person. I know that we are not Christ and that we will never be close to being Him, but we have to try. I know that I should be asking the Lord for help in this matter and hopefully God can use me as the person who can make a difference in this person's life. I pray that God will grant me the patience and the grace to work with this resident and that He will keep my feathers unruffled. If I am to boast that "I love God" then I must also be able to boast "I love all my brothers" too, I know this won't happen over night and will be something I am likely to need to work on for my whole life, but I do love God and so through Him I must learn to love my brother too.