“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” (1 John 2:9-11)
I remember reading these words several years ago when I was well into my walk with the Lord, but still struggling with what it meant to love others (not just my “brothers”) the way Jesus has loved me. It felt so beyond any ability I had to even imagine such a thing in myself.
And yet it was always there in abundance whenever I asked Him to enable me to minister in His name. That infinite, uncontainable, unconditional love, beyond all measure poured into me in power the first time I ever encountered God in a personal way as an adult. And I knew then that God is love.
There is so much hatred in our world today. And it seems to me it is as much in the Body of Believers as it is in the world at large. It is like a sickness or disease that often begins in childhood with bullies and victims and those who stand on the sidelines looking on—afraid or cheering.
When we choose to hate—I wonder, have we done it to Him also? The entire book of 1 John seems to point in that direction. You can’t say you love Him and hate your brother—or perhaps even your enemy–because we also were His enemies once upon a time.
So many of our responses to the violence and hatred just continue to divide and separate us from one another, instead of bringing us together. I repeat: