Vol. 20 New Series April, 1958 No. 6

There is no human being who loves every other human being, although eventually there will be perfect and universal Love. This, and far more, is implied and covered by 1 Cor. 2:9 ("Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard. . . .").

There is no Christian who finds it possible to love positively all his or her fellow believers. We do not yet possess that fulness of love which will make it easy to love everybody. No doubt it is nice to sing that "The Old-time Religion makes me love everybody," but sooner or later such love encounters sad disillusionment.

Let us be realistic. There are always some believers whom we like more than others, and some whom we like less, or whom we can never genuinely like at all. Who can like the topheavy man who rules the roost, or him who is always in the right, or him who resembles Diotrephes in loving to put himself in the front rank (3 John 9)? Such characters can make themselves detestable. While we may not hate them positively, we certainly like them less.

Most loveable of all are those who are genuinely humble, who never know or will admit they are humble. Such believers are easy to love.

But it is not so easy to love those who are unfriendly or inimical. To say or pretend that we do love them, when in fact we do not, is sheer hypocrisy. Perhaps in this life we can never like them, and only before the Judgment Seat shall we find them to be lovable.

What should our present attitude then be? We cannot shew contempt for them. Nor may we be altogether indifferent as to their state. They are members of the Body of Christ, fellow-members with ourselves, chosen by God Himself. Their faults might have been our faults. Our faults are probably not theirs. God has seen fit to call them, and in the Body of Christ we must admit there have always been many very strange and unusual characters.

As God has a special and personal interest in them we are under obligation to respect them and treat them generously, acknowledging their Divine call, even though we cannot meantime like them for their behaviour. There are degrees of love, and we must not despise those whom we cannot like, but exhibit that kind of love which at least shews interest in their moral welfare, because God is interested in them. By disciplining our natural feelings we can at least shew our loyalty, and God requires this from us. It is His will and wish, and if we fullfil His will we prove that we love Him.

Do not then be disquieted if you find yourself unable to love certain fellow-believers. You will love them when the Great Day breaks. Meantime you can use your powers by praying for them.

A.T Last updated 6.10.2005