We can’t. Plain and simple, if we harbor hatred in our heart, we don’t love God.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21 (NIV)
Did someone come to mind as you read the opening line? Is there someone you secretly can’t stand? That you judge or are jealous of or cringe when you see?
If so, it’s past time to pray about it and forgive this person. Because God’s own Word says that you cannot love Him, while hating your brother or sister.
I’m not talking about hating a murderer or a rapist that denounces God with his every breath. We can talk about them at another time.
But right now, there’s a brother or sister in the faith that feels the strain of relationship with you and God is calling upon you to do something about it. He’s probably dealing with their heart, too, if it’s any consolation to you. Step out in faith, obey God and trust Him to do His part.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
God is quite clear. To truly have intimate fellowship with Him, we must be at peace with and love our brothers and sisters. We’re to gather together…