20 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. 1 John 4:20
The Bible says that God measures our love for Him by the way we love other people. Specifically, it says that if we do not love our brother, we cannot truly call ourselves Christian.
This has nothing to do with being “right”; it has to do with obeying God. Any time we choose not to forgive someone, we are turning our back on God. Any time we walk around with a chip on our shoulder, complaining about how someone has treated us, we are in disobedience to the Lord.
If we are loving and serving God, we are going to get hurt. That’s just the way the world is. But as we grow up in Christ, we learn not to live by feelings, but according to the Word of God.
It’s not easy to love people who have hurt you, but you can do it because God’s love is shed abroad in your heart (see Romans 5:5
). You can be angry in your head, but still pursue love in your heart. You can be hurt in your heart but still operate out of love.
When you are hurting and wounded, you can still put your arm around somebody and say, “How are you today?” That’s the love of God at work in you. That’s spiritual maturity. God’s love will cause you to do things you don’t feel like doing.
When you were a child, you just wanted to eat candy and cookies and ice cream. When you grew up, you understood that you had to eat vegetables to be healthy. Spiritual maturity is a little like that. It is doing what you need to do rather than only what you want to do. It is disciplining yourself to obey God instead of your flesh. You choose to follow God instead of your natural desires.