“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen”, 1 John 4:20
Today we are going to look at the above verse as it means as well as apply it to current events mainly happening in St. Louis, MO but sure it is also happening around the world. The first part of the scripture “Love God” is a commandment given to us but stated in Mark 12:30:
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment”, Mark 12:30
The second part of the scripture “hates his brother” Is in contradiction to Mark 12:31:
“And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”, Mark 12:31
Simply put, we have a man who says he loves God but hates his neighbor is either telling a lie about loving God because God’s commands are very clear as we revisit Mark 12:30:
It should be noted here that John mentions “liars” in this letter four other times:
- 1 John 1:10
- 1 John 2:4
- 1 John 2:22
- 1 John 5:10
- A person who shows hate for others but claims to know God is lying;
- Someone who knows God but fails to keep his commandments is a liar;
The second part of the verse adds an explanation, moving from the “seen” to the “unseen.” It is more difficult to love someone you cannot see than someone you can see. If a person cannot love those they see, they cannot reasonably claim to love those they cannot see. This verse explicitly declares that a person cannot truly love God while hating other people. The person who claims to love God must also show love for others.
This also ties into the idea that, since we cannot see God in all His divine essence, love is meant to be the way God is seen. Both in ourselves, and in the world, God’s love is meant to be the way humanity “sees” Him.
Now let’s take this into the context of today’s happenings. In the past, we have had two major incidents in the St. Louis, MO area. They both surround an incident where a black person is shot by a white cop. Now stop right here, we are not getting into the debating of this issue as our justice system decided and that is not the point here.
However, from the most recent event, below are some quotes from the organizers of the protest:
He urged his congregation to practice “DARE: Daily Acts of Resistance against Evil.” “Resistance closes freeways without ever stepping on them,” he said. “Resistance shuts down concerts without ever showing up downtown. Resistance closes businesses, closes streets, closes malls. “Resistance works, baby.”
I am not admonishing freedom of speech but would it surprise you that the last was by a man of the cloth? On Sundays, this man of the cloth stands before his congregation and preaches God’s Word but during the week he urges resistance against evil being our neighbors that had nothing to do with the reason they are protesting in the first place.
The bible does not condone protesting so long as it’s civil, peaceful and not inciting violence. Romans 13:1-6 pretty much sets out God’s requirements for a protest.
The Lord Jesus taught us that no matter what we should always pray and never give up. In the parable of the persistent widow, the Lord taught that even an unjust judge will do what is right in response to persistent prayer and pressure. Read Luke 18:1-5
You may not believe it sometimes but God hears our prayers. We tend to think that when we don’t get a response or we missed the response God didn’t hear our prayer. We are either praying, or we have given up. If we have given up it is probably because we neglected to pray.
You can only be informed, involved and interceding only if you pray.
Scriptures specifically states violent revolution is clearly forbidden. Read Titus 3:1.
There are three types of people:
- Some people watch things happen;
- Some make things happen;
- Others don’t have a clue what happened!
As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ. Therefore, we are to be the light and the salt in society. The salt preservation of morals and light bringing the hope and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ thus dispelling darkness and evil. This is supported by scriptures Matthew 5:13-16.
To act with wisdom, humility, and order we must pray to God before standing up to our neighbor’s liberties.
No matter what evil the government is promoting then we must say:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.” Acts 4:19.
Other than matters of worship and evangelism, we as Christians are commanded to as the Apostle Peter tell us:
“…Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” 1 Pet 2:13-14
So, in closing we learn the following:
- We must love God who we cannot see and our neighbor who we can see;
- If you love God and not your neighbor you are a liar;
- It’s alright to protest so long as it is civil and peaceful;
Churches and politics have worked hard to stay out of each other’s playground. So, when you get a man of the cloth out there rallying the troops in my opinion is the same as hating your neighbor because come Sunday he is in front of his congregation praising the Lord.
So, if we are going to protest, let us protest something that we can change and target the people that can help us make the change. Targeting the businesses is only hurting thy neighbor and is probably not going to change the outcome of what they are protesting.
So why don’t all the protestors get together and fight a battle that can be won just as some justice for the homeless. The scriptures tell us that we are supposed to help the less fortunate.
So, whatever the cause you decide to protest, Remember these things:
- Make sure the cause is a worthy cause;
- Make sure it’s not hate against your neighbor while loving your God;
- Pray for the strength of peaceful civil protest;
- Make sure it’s a cause that can make a change;
- Know when to call it a day;
- Pray for guidance;
“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered”, Proverbs 21:13