It’s Pretty Simple
1 John 3:11-24
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
These words flow through the mind and heart so easily, so quickly; they are fluid in our mouths. But then it comes to practicing what we read here and life begins to lurch a little bit. Loving others is hard work. John makes it sound fairly easy here but we all know that it really isn’t. I recently talked with a person who is leaving a Bible study group they’ve been part of for a long time because the conversations around the recent election turned ugly. The language became hate-filled and judgmental. Racial slurs were common place and Bible Study became a source of discontent and anger. That is the antithesis of this passage.
Other people must be the objects of our loving actions. If we choose to hate others we are proving ourselves to no be Christ followers. He did not hate His enemies, but instead died for them. I pray that it is unlikely you will be asked to die for another person but living in a place of love for others is the only place we, as Christians, are allowed to stand. This means I am constantly looking for ways to serve and show kindness rather than judgment. This means that I surrender my own desires for the good of the other. Yes, these words flow easily, but only in Christ Jesus are we able to even begin to live them out.