Loving Near and Far

“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.  And this commandment we have from him;  whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  1 John 4:20

The quote below by Elizabeth Charles was included in my devotional reading. Elizabeth was an Anglican author. Her works include The Voice of Christian Life in Song; or, Hymns and Hymn-writers of Many Lands and Ages (1859), The Three Wakings, and Other Poems (1859), Wanderings over Bible Lands and Seas (1862), The Early Dawn (1864), Winifred Bertram and the World She Lived In (1866), Poems (1867), The Draytons and the Davenants (1867), Songs Old and New (1882), and Conquering and to Conquer/The Diary of Brother Bartholomew. Our Seven Homes (1896) is autobiographical. A number of her hymns appeared in The Family Treasury, edited by William Argnot(1808–1875).

“It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm for our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira.  To love the whole church is one thing;  to love–that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects–of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiar infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another.”

Can you love all Christian brothers and sisters, near and far?