“You only love God as much as you love the person you love least.”
I read that comment recently, and it’s taken my mind captive. The principle here is Biblical: my relationship with God manifests itself in my earthly relationships. My interaction with others — how I view them, how I treat them — is dictated by the presence of God in my life. Jesus used a parable about an unmerciful servant to illustrate this principle in the context of forgiveness (Matthew 18). Love for God cannot be isolated from one’s social & ethical behavior; the two must overlap. The Apostle John would later write, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. (1 John 4:16-17)” When Christ resides within us, transformation occurs. When I begin to regard those whom I love least with the same love I express toward God, love has truly been made complete in me. Once again, Jesus transforms me inwardly, redeeming my hatred & animosity toward my enemy and allowing me the grace of loving as He loves. To repeat John, “…in this world we are like him.”
Who are those whom we love least? I find it most difficult to love those who are least like me. But to love as Christ loves requires that I view these as He would. It requires that I surrender any stereotypes or prejudices I may have and adopt a more godly perspective. When that occurs, I begin to view others as the uniquely gifted image-bearers God created them to be. I love them because God loves them. And in so doing, love is made complete.
May the love of God be made complete in us, to the glory of God in heaven!