1 John 4:8
 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (ESV)
There are people in this world that we meet that make a lasting impact on us. You can probably think of a coach, a mentor, or even a family member that changed your whole way of thinking. As powerful an impression a person can make, they cannot compare to what happens when we encounter God himself. He will change everything about us. That change is so great that we are now motivated to love others and cannot any longer live a life that does not love.
Sadly, there are many who claim to know God, but their lack of love shows them to be the phonies that they are. Jesus was speaking to the Jews about how they were to have a genuine love for others. He points out that they had been brought up to believe that love is something we only give to those who love us. But is that really love? Listen to the challenging words of the Savior:
 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)
God's standard of love is so much higher than ours. His love caused him to send his perfect Son to die for our wretched sin. He does not lower his standard for us. Rather, he instructs us to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. That can only happen if we have a life-changing encounter with God. After we have truly come to know God, he will empower us by his Holy Spirit to love others with His holy love.
Do you love others? If not, you need to consider John's challenging words in regards to your knowledge of God. To know Him is to love Him. And to know Him is to love others.
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