1 John 5:2
 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. (ESV)
Have you ever talked with someone about going to church and they share a story about why they would never go to church again? Usually, the reason for their resistance is not a doctrinal one, but rather a personal one. The last time they were part of a church they were hurt by one or more of its members.
Some people are victims of gossip. There are those in churches who are far more interested in using their tongue to their own benefit and to the destruction of others. Some former church goers went to a church business meeting. In that meeting they were exposed to selfish people hatefully demanding their own way. In more extreme situations, some former church-goers were recipients of emotional or sexual abuse.
The Apostle John is talking in this verse about loving the children of God. Read that verse again and replace the phrase "children of God" with "church members."
"By this we know that we love church members, when we love God and obey his commandments."
We have already learned that if we say that we love God but do not love our brother we are liars. So many people in the church would claim that they love God. But the way that they treat the members of the church prove that their claim is a lie. If they truly loved the church it would be evidenced by their love for God and obedience to his commandments. It breaks my heart how many have been hurt in churches by church members, many of them in leadership, who lie instead of love.
Do you love God's people? Really? How do you act in church? Are you a leader in gossip? Do you persist in demanding your own selfish way? Are you abusive? Let's love one another. The world needs us.
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