Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."  (John 14:15) 

He also said, as recorded in Matthew 22:37-39, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and GREATEST commandment.  And the second is LIKE it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." 

Notice they are two distinctly separate commandments, YET both are required!    One is greater than the other but the other is 'like' it because it is tied to it. 

1 John 4:20-21 says, "If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." 

 

There are two important things to remember when reading what Jesus taught us about loving God and loving others.  God is FIRST, people are always included!  Under no circumstance is it okay to stop loving someone and under no circumstance is it okay to stop loving God.  When people demand we choose to support either them or God, God remains first.  They may not realize it but you have not loved them any less because you have chosen God first.  They may even become angry and say you do not love them, but it isn't so.  These things, just because they are being said, do not make them true.  I love God more than my family, but the love I have for my family is no less love because I love God more.  I can love others just as successfully as at any other time despite whether I love the Lord more.  You can continue to love people even when you do not support the choices they make when you remain kind and giving towards them anyway, but you may not ever as a true Christian compromise your own walk in salvation to please any person before God and that includes what you condone as a confession of God's standard between right and wrong.  You can love people without condoning or supporting sinful lifestyles and you must if you are a Christian because anything other than is not love at all.  Loving them includes being truthful and not letting them go even when they've leapt off the mountainside.  Jesus can bring them back up the mountain; anyone of them at any time.  Pray for them, show them kindness always, but do not condone or accept sin and say it's okay because when you do you have done the one thing that is the most unloving.  You have helped them lie to themselves about who they are, about their eternity and about their relationship with God and that is the most dangerous thing you could do!  When we love people we don't endanger them.  Maintaining God's standard in our minds as to what is right and wrong is not condemnation to sinners, not even when we share the truth with them.  Sharing the truth of God is not condemnation, the sin which is present condemns.  Condemnation comes when we wash our hands of sinners and say, "There is no hope for you because of your sin."  Jesus is fully capable of handling sin, he has already done so, the sharing of the truth with sinners is one primary avenue that the Holy Spirit uses to reach the lost.  Without repentance how can one be saved?  Without turning from sin, how can one follow after Christ?  Christ does not sin.  There is a right way and a wrong way to SHARE the truth and there is also a right and wrong way to RECEIVE it.  Part of being mature as a Christian is understanding how to love people and still stand by the standards God has set forth as to what is right and wrong.  The way IS narrow.  Until we reach that point of maturity, we really aren't prepared to minister or even share the gospel, we are still groping in the dark ourselves.  Jesus came to reconcile us by putting an end to the power of sin in our lives.  We should never make a place for it in other people's lives and call it love.  We deceive ourselves if we do this and we deceive others to their determent.  If we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments ourselves.  If we love others we will share the truth with them so they can do the same and be saved.

 

Please read and pray about 1 John Chapter 2.  It is powerful and directly related to the Christian walk, both with God and with others.  God is first, people are always included.