Loving Our Brother Whom We Have Seen

Centuries ago John wrote, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Mankind has not always understood this statement, since it has often appeared easier to love the invisible God than the visible brother. John was but expressing the truth Jesus so clearly taught and demonstrated,—the truth that because God is Love men can find or know God only through loving. If they do not have love in their hearts for their brother, how can they be conscious of the Love which is God Himself?

Because men have convinced themselves that God includes all they have deemed desirable, they have imagined they could readily love Him. They have contemplated Him from the standpoint of their own personal concept of good, and so have pictured Him as being what they could personally approve. This implied His approval of them, and they have thus justified their own personal purposes and inclinations. Claiming these to be Godlike, they have become spiritually darkened through this overweening sense of self-satisfaction.

On the other hand, men have often felt that their brother has failed to express the qualities they have deemed admirable, and therefore have not hesitated to denounce him as unworthy of love. Since he has not pleased them or measured up to what they called divine, they have accounted him as unlovely and unlovable. Alas for the personal judgment thus indulged, which ever betrays into false condemnation and unjust criticism through a mistaken sense of both God and man!

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A Noonday Lecture
May 9, 1925

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