"Love others" or "love God"?

"'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?'

'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this:  '... Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  (Mark 12:28-31)

Society tells us that "loving others" means fully embracing and celebrating everyone else's choices and lifestyles, never making anyone feel bad about anything they do, never calling anything 'sin,' never warning anyone of hell.

They say that this is what God wants us to do, that it's the best way for us to "love God."  And if we don't do this - if we preach about sin and hell and our need for salvation - then we are not being "loving."  We are being bad Christians and not representing Jesus correctly.  

Ironically, they are using "love God" to try to manipulate us into putting our love for people over our love for God.

Do you see how messed up this is!?!

They haven't the slightest clue what biblical love is.  And we Christians had better figure it out ourselves soon because we are starting to look just like them.  

We are letting the world tell us what the Bible says!

But "love others" does not mean telling people what they want to hear, making them feel good about everything they do, making them comfortable with their sinful lifestyles, never warning them about hell or their need for salvation.

"Love others" means preaching God's Truth in love and grace so that they can find eternal life and hope in Jesus, so that they can be saved from sin.

And "love God" does not mean having warm, fuzzy feelings for God or expressing warm, fuzzy, all-accepting, never-offensive, "do whatever you want" feelings towards others because "that's what Jesus would do."  

Jesus never coddled people or excused sin or softened truth to make everyone feel good.  

Putting people's feelings over God's truth is not "loving God."

Trust me, I don't like to make people feel bad.  By nature, I am a people-pleasing, "don't make waves," "counsel the hurting" nurturer.  I care deeply for people's hearts and feelings.  But there are times that God's truth will offend and hurt people.  And sometimes, there is no way around it.  

Neither Jesus nor the disciples shied away from preaching the truth out of concern for people's feelings.  They told it like it is.  There are so few doing that today because "Don't be offensive" is the greatest "law" in our country nowadays.  And it's even causing Christians to present a very weak, wishy-washy, flexible version of Scripture.  

Because no one wants to say the hard stuff.  We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Of course, we need to be gentle and loving and gracious in the way we talk to people and share God's Word.  Whatever we say should always be said in a way that shows great concern for people's hearts and souls, that wants to lead people to hope and healing, and that isn't rooted in pride or in a desire to just be right and to hammer people with the Bible.  

But there are people who will get offended simply because God's truth is offensive to those who are in sin.  There are people who will get hurt because it hurts to know that you are in the wrong or that you have done something wrong or that you have caused unpleasant consequences.  

We cannot always protect people's hearts from the sting of truth.    

"Love God" means putting Him first.  It means obeying Him, upholding His truth, putting our allegiance to Him over our allegiance to other people, and taking the risk that we will be criticized and persecuted for our firm stand on truth by those who don't want to hear it.  

"Loving God" means not compromising God's truth to make others feel good about their sin.  If you truly love God, you will love others enough to say the hard, unpopular things that need to get said so that they may find eternal life in Jesus.

Smiling and waving at those on their way to hell, patting them on the back and telling them that they're good just the way they are and that everything is going to be okay, is neither "loving others" nor "loving God."

And shame on those Christians who do this!

If we are not careful, we will "love others" right into hell!

Have you let society define what it means to "love others" and to "love God"?  Have you let them tell you what the Bible says about how you should live, believe, and act?  Have you let a sinful world tell you the best way to love God?

Far too many Christians have.  And it's so damaging to God's Truth and Kingdom.  (Which is why I feel the need to be more bold and forthright in sharing God's Truth.  The more wishy-washy other Christians are, the more I feel the need to take a stronger, clearer stand.)

Which commandment is first and greatest in your life: "Love God" or the world's version of "love others"?

(For more on this, read "God is love, but love is NOT a god!")

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