Do we love others and treat them with kindness because they deserve it?


Below is a quote from another poster on another thread...

Quote: I believe every child of God deserves to be treated with love by his brothers and sisters in Christ.

I know that we are supposed love others and treat them with kindness, but I had never heard the theory that we are supposed to treat others with love and kindness because they "deserve" it. I had always simply accepted that as Christians we must follow the Golden Rule (Do unto others...) and the second part of "the Greatest Commandment" simply because Jesus said so.

I never questioned why we were supposed to love others and treat them with kindness, so the idea that they "deserve" is is a new concept for me. I would have thought we just love them and treat them kindly without ever considering what they deserve.

I used a concordance to look for "deserve" and all I could find were references to scriptures re: God's mercy, i.e. we deserve judgement/punishment but we receive His mercy because He loves us.

  1. Does anybody have scriptural support (or CCC) that says we love others because they "deserve" it?

  2. Does anybody have scriptural support that says why they "deserve" our love?


CCC 1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

CCC 2095 The theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity inform and give life to the moral virtues. Thus charity leads us to render to God what we as creatures owe him in all justice. the virtue of religion disposes us to have this attitude.

CCC 1878 All men are called to the same end: God himself. There is a certain resemblance between the union of the divine persons and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in truth and love.1 Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God.

CCC 2069 The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each “word” refers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. the two tables shed light on one another; they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others.30 One cannot honor another person without blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all men, his creatures. the Decalogue brings man’s religious and social life into unity.

(Bold, of course, is mine)


We are to love others because God has loved us. So yes people deserve love at least from humans because Gos as shown loved that person first.


We are obliged to treat others with love–love of neighbor for the love of God–and respect because of their being created in the image and likeness of God, but this to me does not mean they “deserve” anything; it means we are obligated to recognize those factors in them.

Deserve in the way it’s used here does not seem to connote their having done something which makes them worthy, but more like a shorthand for “they are owed this in the sense that we have an obligation to give it to them,” not "they are owed this because they have done wonderful things.


I see your point. The issue may arise from different usage of the word deserve. I am guessing that you take deserve to mean earn or merit (by works). The one who posted the remark you quoted seems to be operating with a different definition, to be worthy or entitled (as a child of God). I am sure that he/she would agree that we are called to love of one another unconditionally, without regard to the other’s merit.


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