Author’s Note – Yet another newsletter submission for my church. As always, please feel free to skip it if it’s not your kind of thing. It won’t hurt my feelings any!
If anyone says “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
Recently I was looking through some holiday photographs when I found one of my mother’s fourteen year old Poodle, Pepper, and my sister’s nearly fifteen year old English cocker spaniel, Elvis. They were together as they usually are these days, and when I posted it on Facebook, my mother told me that because Pepper is blind, Elvis acts as his eyes, and because Elvis is deaf, Pepper acts as his ears. What a beautiful example of the role God wants us to play in each other’s lives! Proverbs 17:17 reminds us that “a friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Our relationships with others are a reflection of the one God wants to share with us, and in truly loving one another, we fulfill the great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) It is easy to be friends with someone when things are going well, but there can be many reasons why we distance ourselves from them. We may step back from someone with a major illness, or we may not approve of life decisions our friends have made, but God’s commandment doesn’t put conditions on love. We are to love each regardless of the circumstances of our friends’ lives and cannot be true disciples of Christ if we run at the first sign of adversity. Just as the trials we face shape our relationship with God, so, too, does the way we respond to those of a friend. God does not abandon us in our time of need, and to share His light and strength in our lives with the world, we must embrace our friends as part of the great brotherhood of Christianity.