If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

I am always challenged by these words.

6 thoughts on “What is love?

  1. Matt, very unique gallery. I have a christian art blot…mostly Catholic and traditional. I have not seen a collection like this. Love the baby and really like the Goth collection. Thanks for your work.


  2. I’d think Luke 14:26 would be a lot more challenging — where Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” Or maybe the most challenging thing is figuring out how to follow both those verses at the same time. Curious as to your thoughts.


  3. Quick answer: Jesus was fond of hyperbole. He liked to shock people out of their complacency.
    For example, Jesus once said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matt 5:29) Very powerful warning.
    Unfortunately, it can sometimes backfire. For example, Origin didn’t understand poetry and hacked his own gonads off. Makes you wonder what he was thinking! This is one of the reasons why Origin was sometimes considered a bit “out there”.
    In the case of Luke 14:26, I think the essential point is, love of God must come before love of anyone else, loyalty to God must come before loyalty to anyone else. It doesn’t nullify 1 John 4:20.


  4. Thanks, Matt, for the prompt and thoughtful answer. 🙂 If I believed the Bible was true in the first place, I think I would personally be more inclined to take the word of the son of God (and maybe also God, depending on how you interpret the trinity) more seriously than that of an epistle-writer, and say something more like, “The best way, ultimately, to love your brother is to shun him and devote all your energy and attention to God” — but what do I know? I certainly see why your interpretation of Jesus’ instructions is more pleasant to live by. (Especially compared to Origin’s!)


  5. I don’t see the word of the epistle writer and the word of the messiah to be in any essential conflict. Jesus himself said, love your enemies, asserting that it is insufficient for us to only love those close to us, that we have to go much further. If we were to conclude Jesus was contradicting John we would also have to conclude Jesus was contradicting Jesus. Of course, at face value it does seem contradictory: Hate your family! Love your enemies! What??! But, I think we seriously misinterpret Jesus if we think he was only operating at that level. Jesus was often deliberately obscure, to goad people into looking deeper.


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