When we think of loving others, who do we think of? Friends? Family? Coworkers? The lost? Church members? Our enemies? Although it is important that we choose to love all of these, we should also choose to love our Christian brethren.
It is vital that we, as believers in Christ, love other believers in Christ. First, if we do not love them, who will? The world is good at showing love to those from whom it benefits. However, if we have made ourselves foreigners to the world, the world will not desire to love us. The world cannot provide the type of love that Christ has commanded His followers to show to each other, anyway.
A Christian who chooses to love his or her brethren does not only step into a relationship with Christ at that moment. He or she must have already been a Christian in order to call his or her fellow Christian his or her brethren. The Christian who loves his or her brethren remains in the light. It is a constant thing, not something that passes.
As Christians, we are commanded to love those who Christ has already loved. We can rest assured that, even when it may seem difficult to love some of them, Christ has already given us the example by loving our brethren. Christ did not leave us without an example to follow.
When we choose to love our brethren, we are given this assurance: we will not become a stumbling block to our brother or sister. If we abide in love, we can only help our brethren, and ourselves, draw closer to God. It is a win-win.