Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment – to LOVE ONE ANOTHER – is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. – 1 John 2:7-8
God’s message from generation to generation, from the Old Testament to the New, is consistent – we are to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. In fact, God teaches us that the best way for us to show our love for Him is by loving others. He does not let us get by with saying – I love you, God, but I don’t love…
If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness. – 1 John 2:9-11
Then why do we hear so often of quarrels and arguments in the church or within Christian families? Why do we hear that someone isn’t talking with someone else or that two people do not get along so they avoid each other? Why do we ignore scriptures such as John’s letter or the words of Jesus that say, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” – Matthew 5:23-24
Now, it is okay for us to hate sin but we must do so in a way that we do not hate the sinner. We can and should be appalled by the things that happen in the world around us, but hating the person involved does nothing to change the situation or bring that person to an understanding of God’s love for them. We may really hate the way someone has treated us or words they have used to wound us, but God’s commandment does not change – we must LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
Here’s the great part: God has equipped us for this commandment. He has given us a way to love people while hating sin, to love the world while hating the things of this world.
1. He has given us the Holy Spirit.
But you have received the Holy Spirit and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true – it is not a lie. So, just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. – 1 John 2:26-27
2. He has given us the opportunity to remain in fellowship with Christ.
And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children. – 1 John 2:28-29
In fellowship with Christ, sitting at His feet and listening to Him as I share my morning coffee with Him What a great way to start my day. What a great way to end my week! Lord, fill me with your Spirit and with your love! Reveal in me any hard feelings or hate I may have in my heart towards someone else. Show me any areas in which I need to make things right. Thank you for your fellowship and for the gift of your Spirit this Christmas Season. Amen.