Think about someone within the family of Christ (the church) that drive you absolutely nuts. Maybe you think this person is annoying, you complain about them, you just simply don’t like them, they offended you, or maybe you consider them mean. So, how do you treat this person? If Jesus were to come with you to church this Sunday and observe your interaction, or lack thereof, with this person would He approve? Would Jesus treat this person just as you treat them?
In today’s passage John reminds us of the grave importance to love one another. He compares the opposite of love to murder. Remember, John was once called a “son of thunder” he understood a thing of two about anger; but, after his time with Jesus as he witnessed Him wash his feet and lay down His life for him, John was given the title of the “Apostle of Love”. John knew pure love because he walked with Him (Jesus). So, as John wrote today’s passage, he knew that if a brother or sister within the family of Christ hates another brother or sister, that person is a murderer at heart, and must immediately repent and ask God to change their heart. You might be thinking, well, “hate” is such a strong word and I merely think someone is just annoying, or mean, or sometimes I just don’t like how they act, and that’s much different than “hate”; but John tells us that as the family of believers we must pass from death to life. That means we either are dead living for this world, or we are actively living in eternal life for the Kingdom of God now; there is no grey area and we must make choice, either love like Jesus or hate like the world, it’s one or the other.
1 John 3:11-16
Love One Another
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You so much for being the perfect example of love! Each of us desperately need Your forgiveness because we do not always love as You love. Help us to be more like You. Please open doors of opportunities for us to authentically love those within the family who we haven’t treated as You would treat them. Soften our hearts to love like You. You laid down Your life for us, so guide us so that we can also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. Jesus, we ask that you hold the hearts of Americans today as we remember those who lost their lives 19 years ago; and we pray for those who lost loved ones. May their love live on forever. In Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written By: Jen Auer