Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am afraid I might love people more than God. How can I guard my heart against that, although I feel that the more I love God, more I want to love people, especially those who are Christ like?

I would like you to read the Holy Book of I John 4: 7-11. Verse 8 tells us: "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

"God is love" is not a definition of who God actually is, but rather a description of His relationship to us as our Heavenly Father. Just as the Only Begotten Son has gave Himself upon the Holy Cross that we might live through Him, so we are to give ourselves to Him and to ONE ANOTHER in love.

In Holy Book of I Corinthians 13:1 depicts Love as Superior to Gifts, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging symbol."

According to St. Basil, people follow the Lord out of:

1) Love (I John 4:19),
2) Fear (Proverbs 1:7),
3) Obedience (Acts 5:29).

Therefore, while we must aim to do all things out of love, we must not cease fearing Him and obeying Him. At the time the Holy Book of I Corinthians was written, the church was preoccupied with TONGUES, but St. Paul is teaching them that the ultimate gift is LOVE.

In the Holy Book of I John 3:16 and in the Holy Gospel of St. John 11:3 are other references related to the same topic.

The descriptors of love are: Charity, Union, Affection, Friendship, and Unselfish Concern for Another's Good. All these form the parameters of people’s relation to each other.
The love of CHRISTIANS for EACH OTHER and for the world is a reflection of the love among the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

It is important to seek close friendship with Christians in order to ensure the presence of Jesus Christ in this relationship. Christians with true "Christ-like" characteristics will only encourage you to have a more intimate relationship with the One through whom all things are made.
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