Friday, May 12, 2017



Are we, as Christians, required to love everyone equally? While we are to love all, we are not to love them equally. All are our neighbors, as Jesus indicated in His parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). However, Jesus never argued that we must love everyone equally.

Jesus criticized the Pharisees for failing to obey the 4th Commandment to honor their own parents (Matthew 15:3-4). This Commandment never specified that we should care for all parents equally.

Instead, Jesus intended love to radiate out to others from those closest to us, and it was to start with our brethren, fellow believers in Jesus. In another parable, He paradoxically taught:

·       “’I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me’…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these MY BROTHERS, you did it to me [Jesus].’” (Matthew 25:36, 40)

According to Jesus, love had to begin with His brethren – fellow believers. When we love them, it is to love Jesus. For Jesus, the brethren are all one, part of His Body.

Jesus made a sharp distinction between His brethren and those who are not. His brethren were those who practiced righteousness

·       By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother…But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his BROTHER in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:10,17)

Loving the brothers had to come first. Again, the brethren were those who followed Jesus and kept His commands, not the entire world:

·       As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love…This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends [brethren] if you do what I command you. (John 15:9-10, 12-14)

Of course, if we are His brethren, He will chasten and correct us, and we are to correct one another (Matthew 18:15-19). Love and correction go together. Both must start at home.

The Apostles continued to teach in the same manner:

·       If a BROTHER OR SISTER is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16)

While we must love everyone, love had to begin with the “household of faith”:

·       So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10) 

This truth needs to be emphasized because it has now become politically incorrect to love the brethren first. Consequently, fearing that it will make them look narrow and chauvinistic, this teaching has been neglected in many churches. Some churches even explicitly teach that we cannot choose favorites.

However, it seems that the best way to love the unbeliever is to first love the believer. Jesus claimed that this love might even bring the unbeliever to faith:

·       "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

When we love one another, we are giving what is most valuable to the world. We are showing them the reality of the Gospel. Therefore, Jesus prayed:

·       "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

One of the reasons that we love one another is that the “world may believe” and “know that you sent me.” Another reason is that it makes good common sense.

Love has to begin at home. If I love my neighbors’ wives equally with my own, it will cause great angst all around. Also, if I love my neighbors’ children equal with my own, this too will cause bitterness. In either case, my family will not be able to function as a loving unit and touch our neighbors with our love. The same is true among the brethren.

What happens when we devote ourselves to a utopian love of the world and fail to put own family first? Seemingly, Karl Marx had married the ideal woman. Jenny faithfully served him and was equally committed to his ideals. Together, they devoted themselves to their work and even to the care of socialistic refugees as their own children lived in abject poverty. How did they fare?

·       "The Father of Modern Communism" also fathered 7 children, 4 of whom survived to adulthood. His only son, Frederic Demuth (1851-1929) was illegitimate…Marx never acknowledged paternity… [Of the three others who made it into adulthood], Jenny (1844-1883) died of tuberculosis…Laura (1846-1911)…and her husband agreed they had nothing to live for and committed suicide…Eleanor (1856-1898), Marx's youngest daughter, was emotionally crippled…she lacked self-discipline, was neurotic, and most of her efforts were abortive…Eleanor supported him [her husband] for 15 years until, at his suggestion, she committed suicide.”

Apart from his own family, Marx’ utopian vision turned into the ultimate killing machine. In one century alone 100,000,000 were murdered for the sake of this ideal.

When love does not begin at home, it is not love at all but a force of destruction.

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