Dietrich Bonhoeffer said…
What is undivided love? It is love that shows no special favours to those who answer our love with love.
1 John 4: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Samuel Coleridge writes in his book, Aids to Reflection, that some Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way. The reason they give is that God’s name may be on it. Even though it sounds a bit superstitious, we can learn a lot from it, Coleridge writes: Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not.
These words of Coleridge emphasise two things. Firstly, we should have holy respect for God’s name. It is something that vanished from our society. The second thing is that we show real respect for God when we respect the people that God made. It is impossible to say that we love God while we don’t care about the people around us.
I remember very well how we were not allowed as children to place anything on our Bibles. Respect for God and his word were important. Yet, the “good old days” were not as good as we thought. We showed little or no respect for God’s people. We discriminated against people because they looked different from us.
Let us not mislead ourselves. Love for God means nothing when we do not show love for our fellow human beings. The opposite is also true. When we love one another – all people – it becomes clear that we know and love God.
Lord, prevent us from treading on other people – the people for whom the blood of Jesus Christ flowed. Amen.