Walking in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ is not just based on external actions, but internal attitudes as well. This takes place, first, in the local church.
Romans 14:10 (NKJV)
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Walking in love is again in view here as it relates to the Judgment Seat of Christ. In context, the first part of this verse is addressed to weaker believers – they are not to judge stronger believers. The second part of this verse is addressed to stronger believers – they are not to look down on weaker believers. All Christians are called to love unconditionally, and unconditional love refrains from viewing fellow believers with contempt and criticism. A critical, condescending attitude is not going to merit any rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
When a person is born again spiritually, they become a member of a new spiritual family, the Body of Christ. Now, they are not only responsible for their physical family, but they have an additional responsibility to their spiritual family. This is one of the reasons it is so important to find the right church and then be faithful in your attendance and giving. Your local church is the primary place where you are called to give and receive God’s love.
Jesus was referring to this new spiritual family when He made this controversial statement (in Luke 14:26), “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Jesus wasn’t telling someone to hate or disown his or her physical family; He was exhorting believers to embrace the responsibility of a new spiritual family. One of the ways you can accept that new responsibility is by being faithful in fellowship in your local church. This is one of the reasons participation in your church is so important. Every believer will be judged based on how he or she related to his or her brothers and sisters in Christ, and this is only possible by being faithful in fellowship in your local church.