Inspired by 1 John 5:1-12
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” 1 John 5:1-2 (NRSV)
As we practice our lives of devotion, we try to focus on pleasing God with our prayers, worship, and piety. We want to show him that he’s our everything, that we’re willing to disregard other things in our life in order to keep him as our highest priority.
But sometimes when we turn ourselves so fully towards God, we also turn our backs on those around us. We neglect our families and ignore the material needs of others, all so we can spend more time praising and worshiping God. Or we sit in judgment over others, substituting our own authority for God’s, believing we’re doing his work.
God didn’t call us to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ, and he certainly didn’t call us to ignore them. If we claim to love God, then by definition we must love his children. If we claim to love God, then we show that love not with our private prayers or personal piety, but by caring for those whom God loves. If we love God, then our lives of devotion are spent obeying his commandments to care for the sick and suffering and to help the needy.
If we can’t find it in our hearts to love God’s children, then we must question how much we really love the God who adopted them and who sent his only Son to die for them.
Let us pray. God of love, you have adopted us as your children and made us heirs to your kingdom. Help us to respond to these gifts by loving your people, that we may show your love through our actions. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.