Matthew 25:31-33,41-46 (NIV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
1 John 4:20-21 (CEB)
20If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. 21This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.
John doesn’t beat around the bush very much, does he? If you say you love God but you’re harboring hate toward another person, you’re lying about loving God.
And, if you think today’s reading is pretty direct, flip back a chapter and read 1 John 3:10: ”This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” (NIV)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that as we interact with others, we should act as though we were interacting with Jesus himself. With that in mind, how many times would we be short with or rude to Jesus? How often would we let him suffer alone or ignore him completely?
It’s very clear that God considers it a direct correlation between how we treat those around us and whether or not we love God. That’s something for us to remember as we interact with the many people in our lives.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.