The Youth’s Instructor


January 13, 1898

Because He First Loved Us


“We love him, because he first loved us. 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? and this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” The will of God is expressed in these words in a most decided manner, and the question is, Are we obeying the voice of God to the very letter? We can never attain perfection of character if we do not hear the voice of God and obey his counsel. This instruction does not apply simply to those who have had no trials to meet which would create dislike to their brethren; but it applies to those who have been injured, who have suffered from financial wrong, from reproach and criticism, from misapprehension and misjudgment. These must not allow hatred to enter the heart, or permit unkind feelings to arise when they look upon those who have injured them. YI January 13, 1898, par. 1

Jesus bears with the perversity of the children of men, and pities them in their wrong course. If he felt as some who claim to be his followers feel, he would be filled with continual disgust and hatred as he looks upon those who are abusing his mercy, despising his grace, refusing to obey his commandments, and trampling upon his authority. He has bought them soul and body, and though they give their allegiance to Satan, his bitterest enemy, he loves them still. YI January 13, 1898, par. 2

No one can hate his brother, or even his enemy, without placing himself under condemnation. We ever receive from the hand of our Maker and Judge a reward in harmony with the nature of our conduct toward him and his creatures. It is written: “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Again we read: “With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.” YI January 13, 1898, par. 3

When the Bible is brought into the heart and made the rule of our conduct, we shall not cherish hatred against those who do us wrong. Like Christ we shall forgive our enemies, and watch for opportunities to show those who have harmed us that we love their souls, and if we could, would do them good. A course of this kind will be likely to break down enmity, will humble our own proud, cold hearts, and bring us into sympathy with Christ. If those who have injured us, still continue in their course of wrong-doing, and we see that we can do them no good, still let love rule our own hearts, and overcome the enmity that urges its presence in our breast. If we were Bible-doers as well as Bible-readers, we should see an altogether different state in our churches. We must make efforts to be reconciled to our brethren, following the Bible plan, as Christ himself has directed. If our brethren refuse to be reconciled, then do not talk about them, nor injure their influence, but leave them in the hands of a just God, who judgeth all men righteously. YI January 13, 1898, par. 4

How many are deficient in love! O, that love might eradicate from the heart hatred, emulation, and strife, and the root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. Never can the love of Jesus be received and shed abroad in the heart until envious feelings, hatred, jealousies, and evil surmisings are put away. YI January 13, 1898, par. 5

The youth may profess to have great love for the cause of God; but while they are unreconciled to their companions, they are unreconciled to God. It is these heart-burnings, these selfish feelings that are cherished, that keep the blessing of God out of our hearts and homes. Let the love of Christ flow into the heart and transform the character, or we shall not be children of God, we shall not be Bible Christians. Christ is nothing to us if we do not permit him to enlighten the understanding, purify the affections, purge the dross from us, and cleanse from our garments every spot and stain, clothing us with his own righteousness. YI January 13, 1898, par. 6

Many are deceiving themselves; for the principle of love does not dwell in their hearts. They may close their eyes to their own errors and defects; but they cannot deceive God. There must be a reformation. The plowshare of truth must plow deep furrows in our proud hearts, and tear up the sod of our unsanctified natures, that the Spirit and love of Jesus may be planted in our hearts. Time is fast hastening on, and every work will soon be brought into judgment, and either our sins or our names will be blotted out of the Book of Life. YI January 13, 1898, par. 7

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” The law and the gospel declare this precept, and enforce this command: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” YI January 13, 1898, par. 8

Pure love is simple in its operations, and separate from every other principle of action. When combined with earthly motives and selfish interests, it ceases to be pure. God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do. Love is a heavenly attribute. The natural heart cannot originate it. This heavenly plant only flourishes where Christ reigns supreme. Where love exists, there is power and truth in the life. Love does good, and nothing but good. Those who have love bear fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” YI January 13, 1898, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White