Is it possible to love one another without loving God? Is it possible to love God without loving one another?
When Jesus walked the earth, I believe that the people took him to be a social justice advocate. He upset the establishment, held the leaders accountable, and went out of his way to connect with and help the poor and broken members of society.
One way he demonstrated this was when he defended the woman about to be stoned for adultery in John 8:1-12. He convicted her accusers by making them remember their own sins. John 8:9 NKJV says, “Then those who heard it [He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. John 8:7 NKJV] being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” This passage is also a beautiful example of how Jesus held all of them in equal regard; all people, all sinners, all subject to God’s judgment.
Jesus advocated for people to be free from sin and from the oppression of this world. Did He focus on liberating the people from rulers or oppressors when to Him, rulers and subjects were all the same? They were all imperfect before God and all subject to His judgment. The goal was to get people to see beyond the natural and understand the spiritual implications of our actions. He commanded us to love God with all our hearts, our minds, and our souls, and love one another as we love ourselves.
Both sides of the social justice conflict have something for which to fight. One side is afraid of change and desperately want to preserve their perceived power and authority. The other side is pushing for change and the redistribution of the perceived power through transparency and equitable accountability.
Believers on both sides must ask themselves two questions: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Matthew 16:26 NKJV
Standing up against oppression is noble. Standing up against hatred is righteous. And for believers, standing on the Word while standing against all forms of bigotry is essential. Ultimately, it is God’s word that tells us to love one another as we love ourselves. I’m harping on this point because there are believers on both sides of this conflict. There is power in the word of God.
So, think about how Jesus instructed his disciples when the woman in Bethany anointed Him with the expensive oil from her alabaster box. Matthew 26:10-13 NKJV, “But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.””
I submit to you, wherever we are able to meet hatred with love, violence with peace, inhumane treatment with humanity, impatience with patience, ignorance with truth, and Satan’s deeds with God’s words, we will see a supernatural movement of God’s spirit that will change the hearts of the people which will be taught for all generations to come.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
I John 4:20-21 NKJV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NKJV