1 John 4:20-21
If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen…
There is an element of Christian ethics present in the Gospels, and everywhere attributed to Jesus, which we scarcely find at all in the Epistles. It is the setting up of an antagonism between duty to God and the claims of natural affection. It will, I think, be profitable to inquire whether our duty to God and our love of Him ought ever to override our duty to our families and our natural affection for our nearest and dearest relations. Turning over the leaves of that flesh-bound revelation, we find our home love to be the most precious, most redeeming, most sanctifying of all our spiritual treasures. According to our possession of family love our home is either our heaven or our hell. But love is much more than this — it is our real moral teacher. It is at home that our characters are formed for fatherly, motherly, sisterly, and brotherly lives in the outer world. And how love purifies and restrains! Who, looking back on his past life, cannot remember the many times when he would have fallen before temptation but for the love he bore to his father or mother, or wife or children? Last of all, our actual possession and exercise of love is our only key to the knowledge of the love of God. From this springs all true religion, all true worship of the Father in heaven, and all service acceptable to Him. So I read in our poor human hearts this sublime truth. Love is our highest bliss, our best guide to duty, our strongest impulse to perform it, the most efficient cultivator of a noble character, our surest defence in the face of temptation, and the highest revelation of God Himself. And now I venture to affirm that our duty to God never does conflict with our duty to each other. And why? It needs no argument. It is the very principle of religious morality that our duty to God consists mainly in our duty to each other. We can render to Him no service at all but in and through the service of our brethren who are His children. Our love to God never yet weakened — nay, it has evermore strengthened — our family love. The more conscientious we have become in the discharge of what we thought to be our duty to God, the more loving and faithful we have been to our dear ones at home.
Parallel VersesKJV: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?