Whom Are Christians Commanded to Love?

A different thread exposed a fracture among Christians regarding precisely whom we are called to love.

So I ask you, “Whom are Christians commanded to love?”

Everyone.

Looks like Jesus intended us to love God and everyone else.

Mat 22:37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Mat 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
Prodigal Son1

Ditto. For me, this is a no-brainer. Jesus didn’t discriminate. Everyone.

Love God, love one another.
He said love one another as I have loved you.
Hard to do sometimes, but that’s what He said.
I’ve found it easier to do when I pray for my enemies and those who persecute me. But then, that was His idea too, wasn’t it?

When Christ bid us love one another, did he limit this to other Christians?

When Christ bid us to love our enemies and those who persecute us, did he exclude those non-Christians who are not active enemies of the Church?

When Christ gave such commands, were they only to the apostles, or to all Christians?

Everyone.

Everyone.

Everyone.

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
Prodigal Son1

I believe His words are for the whole world, all humanity, no matter what they profess to believe. God is God of all.

And what is the consequence of not obeying Christ’s commands to:

Love God?

Love each other?

Love our neighbors as ourselves (love our neighbors, love ourselves)?

Love our enemies and those who persecute us?

What are the ramifications of not following God’s commandments? Do you really need us to answer that for you?

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
Prodigal Son1

I am not asking these questions because I do not believe Christians are commanded to love all of our brothers and sisters, (by which I mean “everyone”), but because a non-Catholic in another thread insisted this commandment is limited to “the brethren” only, by which they meant “true Christians”, “born again Christians”.

Thus I am asking the question to see if anyone else has that rather shocking interpretation of Scripture. Thus far, no one has, which has prompted me to move on to the second part.

What are the consequences of NOT loving God, our neighbors, ourselves, our enemies, for the Christian?

Ahh, that explains it. Several non-Catholics, through private interpretation, interpret scriptures to meet their own desires and not God’s. That’s the dangers of interpreting the Bible without the Church’s guidance.

God is spiritual, man is flesh. God is heavenly, man is worldly.

Common sense says to love one’s enemies covers everyone. Scriptures are not a legal document to be dissected.

Disobeying God’s commandments is disobeying God. There’s no middle ground there, you either obey or disobey. Remeber what Jesus said about adulterers? If you have lust in your mind you have committed adultery. That’s a mortal sin in my opinion.

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
Prodigal Son1

Mt 22:37-40

37
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Everyone

My very first thought that came to mind was when He gave us the example of the Good Samaritan.

It’s very important to know what God/Jesus means by love. Jesus loved everybody totally and perfectly - yet, He spoke harshly at times to certain people (hypocritical Pharisees, etc.)

Jesus is not talking about an emotional “feeling”. He is talking about **willing and doing what is for the good of others **— their physical good (feed the hungry, cloth the naked) and most especially their spiritual good. We should desire and pray for the salvation of everyone; pray for the conversion of even the most wicked. Share our faith when we can.

When we have a proper understanding of “love”, then we can understand how it is possible to “love everyone” even though we may experience, and have to combat, VERY strong FEELINGS of dislike towards another.

An example: Assume a Hitler type person:
Physical love: If we saw him starving, we might “feel” like letting him starve, but that would be sinful. Instead, we should give him food. That is loving him.
Spiritual love: We should never desire him to spend eternity in hell. He also is a child of God and we know how much our Father loves all His children and wants them to be saved. We should desire to see God’s will fulfilled; to see Him experience the joy of the Prodical Son’s father. So, we should pray for the conversion of our enemy. Doing this is loving him – and it is loving God.

Nita

I ran out of editing time.
Wanted to clarify that feeling we’d like to let the person starve wouldn’t necessarily be sinful. What would be sinful would be to actually choose to let him starve (if we had the means to feed him).

Uncharitable feelings arise without our willing them and thus are not necessarily sinful. They become sinful only when we deliberately go along with them, engage in them, feed them, etc. God asks us to use our intellect (learn what is good) and will (choose to do what is good) to overcome the sinful temptations caused by our feelings.

Nita

Your enemies. Matt.5

When Christ bid us love one another, did he limit this to other Christians?

Since Christ loved all and died for all.

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also fora] the sins of the whole world. [1John2]

If Christ did not discriminate then who are we to discriminate?

43"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborh] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies*(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=5&version=31#fen-NIV-23279i”)] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.[Matt.5]

Christ clearly shows us here the indiscriminate nature of God’s love. God loves us all no matter whether we are sinners or not. Therefore we should be perfect as God, our Heavenly Father is perfect.

Two excellent posts, Nita and Jimmy! :thumbsup:

Indeed, St Paul noted throughout the Epistles that the more he corrected some with love, the more they loved him less.

And yet none can doubt that he loved as Christ commanded.

This being the Pauline Year, here is more from St Paul:

Ephesians 5:

“1”: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

“2”: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

Romans 13:

8": Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

“9”: For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“10”: Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

1 Thessalonians 3:

“11”: Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

“12”:** And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men**, even as we do toward you:

“13”: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Galatians 5:

“13”: For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

“14”: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; **Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. **

“15”: But if ye bite and devour one another, **take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. **

“16”: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

“17”: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

“18”: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

“19”: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

“20”: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

“21”: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“22”: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

“23”: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

“24”: And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

“25”: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

“26”: Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Hebrews 10:

23": Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised; )

“24”: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

“25”: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

“26”: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

“27”:** But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries**.

Philippians 1:

“9”: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

“10”: That ye may approve things that are excellent;** that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ**;

“11”: Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

And please note that 1 Thessalonians 3 leaves no doubt that our love is to be directed toward all men.

Many have noted this above; this passage may prove useful.

I could never become a Calvinist due to the implication in his theology that this is limited to the Elect.

Christ certainly was not limited to loving us in a touchy-feely way; witness his treatment of the moneylenders in the Temple or of the Pharisees who sought his death. His turning the greatest of them—Saul—into his apostle to the Gentiles is of course an indication that he loved even his enemies.

Indeed, the only thing we’re told the adopted son of the carpenter Jesus made in Scripture was a scourge (whip) to drive the moneylenders from the temple.

As C.S. Lewis noted of his Christ-surrogate in the Narnia series, he was by no means tame.

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