20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
1 John 4:20-21
Love is a command. A “commandment” is a charge, an injunction, a precept and an authoritative prescription. Think of a prescription – an instruction written by a medical practitioner that authorizes a patient to be provided a medicine or treatment. The intent for a prescription is to help you get better: it moves you from one state to a better one. A commandment is an authoritative prescription. It’s authoritative in that the person giving it to you does not expect you to do otherwise. 1 John 5:3 says that the commandments of God are not grievous or burdensome. So when God says you must love your brother, He’s not giving you a bitter pill to swallow in order to punish you; He’s telling you something that will make your life better. This is something that will make your faith vehicle move more efficiently so that your faith will get to its destination. This is something that will make you enjoy the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus.
John says if someone claims to love God but hates his brother, he is a liar. There’s no way a person can claim to love God who he has not seen and hate his brother who he has seen. God is simply saying through John that there is no difference between loving Him and loving your brother. To say you love God but you don’t love your brother is incongruous to Him, because it ought to be the same agape love. Some Christians say, “God, it is just because I love you, otherwise I wouldn’t be caught sitting next to this person in church!” Then they sit next to their Christian brother in church and they do not speak to each other. If you say you love God, but you hate your brother, there is a lie somewhere. It does not add up. Also, there are Christians in the same church who don’t speak to each other. They are just civil and polite so that it will not be said that they do not greet their brother. Worse still, there are married Christian couples who live in the same house, yet they do not speak to one another. How can this be? It ought not to be so.
Confession: Love is a commandment given to me by God. It is not a burdensome commandment therefore I can love people the same way God has loved me.