[From "You Love God But You Hate People: Why You’re Not a Spiritual Failure"]
Can you be a devoted Christian who is greatly pleasing God if you currently loathe other humans? The modern Church, the apostle Paul, and the apostle John would all say no. God would say yes. Now let’s explain.
God has always taught that He is to be our First Priorityso much so that we should be willing to lose our relationships with other humans for the sake of honoring Him. It doesn’t always get to that point, but that is the goal. You see, God doesn’t just call us to be sort of into HimHe commands us to obsessively love Him. We are to consider Him our All-in-All, our Master, our Commander, our King. God is supposed to be the One who we are living to please. His opinion is supposed to trump all others in our minds. His approval is supposed to be everything to us.
And then there are people. How does God teach us to love people? Well, we’re supposed to be gracious, generous, merciful, and kind. But we’re also supposed to have boundaries, dole out discipline when needed, and be willing to cut ties when necessary. The kind of love that we’re supposed to be giving humans is a very different, far more limited kind of love than we’re supposed to be giving God. It’s totally inappropriate for us to obsess over humans, to pray to them, to worship them, to view ourselves as totally dependent on them, or to give them our absolute trust. We’re never supposed to give humans anything close to total submission, and yet total submission is definitely an attitude that we want to develop with God.
Now today, the Church is blowing off the difference between the kind of love you’re supposed to be giving God and the kind of love you’re supposed to be giving humans. By the time she’s teaching you to pray to human saints, worship human worship leaders, blindly trust your human teachers, and view yourself as totally dependent on a collection of Scriptures which were all written by humans, the Church is teaching you to treat humans like God’s equals. Then she vaults them even higher than God by teaching you that you need other humans to pray for you, lay hands on you, interpret God’s will for you, and spiritually intercede for you. Soon humans are our first loves in life, while God is just our last resort.
Now if you try to share these ideas with other Christians, you’ll likely get a bunch of Scriptures thrown at you and a bunch of harsh criticism, so don’t bother. Because the Church worships the Bible, she ends up exalting all of the bad teaching in the Bible as correct. In the New Testament, we find the apostles John and Paul putting out a lot of bad teaching on the subject of loving humans. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes a long speech about love in which he says loving other peoplenot Godis all that matters (see Discernment Charts NT Epistles: If We Don’t Love Humans, We’re Worthless). In other words, Paul teaches that our relationships with other humans are far more important than our relationships with God. This is the same Paul who once boasted that he’d volunteer to be cut off from Christ in order to see more of his fellow Jews saved. Paul was a horrible spiritual role model in many ways, yet you’ll be hard-pressed to find Christians who will admit how obnoxious much of Paul’s teaching is.
As for the apostle Johnhe’s another wellspring of bad theology. John not only teaches that no true Christian could even desire to sinwhich is a totally ludicrous claimbut he also says that anyone who doesn’t love people cannot possibly know God. Well, suppose Brianna was to measure the quality of her friends by the gifts they brought her. How well would that external judgment system work? Not well at all, for the people who brought Brianna the best gifts cared about her the least, whereas the woman who didn’t bring any gifts loved Brianna deeply. When we try to assess people’s heart attitudes by their external actions, we always end up drawing wrong conclusions about them. Happily, God doesn’t fall into this trap. Unlike humans, God is able to see your true intentions towards Him, so He never misjudges you.
Sincerely devoted Christians come in a wide variety of packagessome of which are very rude, hostile, and even hateful towards their fellow humans. But because God sees into our hearts, He never rejects those who sincerely care about Him, nor is He fooled by any of our pretenses. God knows who is for Him and who isn’t. He knows who really cares about Him, and who doesn’t. As a Christian who is currently stuck in a place of intensely disliking other humans, you need to stop obsessing over the things that don’t matter. Look inward, not outward. Think about your soul attitude towards God, not your feelings towards other humans. When you know that underneath all of the hostility, you really do want to please God, then you need to stand on that. Don’t expect other Christians to understand your true feelings about God, because they won’t. But God does understand, and His opinion is the only one that counts.