He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? – John 4:20
On purpose, Jesus talked in terms of loving one’s brother, sister, or neighbors. It requires more of us to love a friend or relative who we know well, than to be concerned for the welfare for people who suffer far away. We rightfully are concerned and reach out to Tornado victims for example, but the test is how do we love and forgive the racist or bigot in our neighborhood. To love – that is, “to delight in the graces and veil the defects” – of the person who opposes your plans, grates on your nerves, or whose faults your sweet soul most naturally revolts is quite another matter. Sometime the greatest test of our call to love all God’s people lies in the room next door.