Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 1 John 2:9
When I read this verse, I thought to myself, do I hate anybody? If I do, I am living in darkness.
It is often easy to hate than to love because we expect people to be faithful and perfect to us. We expect them to never change in character, in attitude or anything, but when we see a change, all that love can turn to hate within few seconds.
I heard someone say, “I don’t feel that same love towards that person anymore.” or a more popular phrase, “He has changed. He is not the same anymore.”
More than people changing around us, or we reacting to such changes; I think we have changed. We have changed ourselves from loving to hating people.
Well, you may ask, people hurt me, there is a change in their character and attitude but I haven’t changed. I’m still the same.
The answer to that question is found in the life of Jesus.
John 13:1 (MSG) says, just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end.
Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him in a short while but still knowing, He loved his disciples including Judas in the same way he had loved them in the beginning. His love for Judas Iscariot never changed.
I think of this incident and ponder to myself, Wow.! That’s amazing.!
Knowing that someone is going to hurt you, but you still love them the same way! How is this possible?
How is it possible to keep love consistent?
There are two things,
First: Live in the Light
John the Apostle, the writer of this letter, begins saying,
“Anyone who claims to be in the light…” The word light here refers to God. 1 John 1:5, God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all.
After we have accepted the salvation. We begin to live in the light, where we are now filled with God’s unconditional love, grace, and mercy. The important task now is to display those God’s unconditional love, grace, and mercy to our brothers and sisters.
One of my favorite verse is this,
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. We have heard several preaching’s on God’s unconditional love, but we have failed to practice it. We have to live as testimonies of the light. It is important to show the world that you are living in the light.
Second: Show the world you are living in the light.
Now that you have accepted the salvation and have started living in the light. Display those characteristics of light.
To begin displaying those characteristics we have to do two things,
Practice loving people,
- Love them with unconditional love.
- Be gracious when you feel they don’t deserve it.
- Show mercy when they hurt you…forgive them when everything goes wrong
Why should we do that?
Because Christ did that for us.
- Jesus Loved us with unconditional love. Romans 5:6-8
- God showed us grace. It is a gift from God. (Eph 4:7) By grace, we are saved. We received salvation not because of our works but because of his Grace towards us. (Eph. 2:8)
- God showed us mercy when we deserved to die because of our sins. He forgave us. Psalms 103:10 says, He did not punish us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
John the Apostle, the writer of this passage, makes one thing clear, that is; If we claim to be in the light but do not love the people around us then we are living in darkness. We are deceiving ourselves. We think we are living in the light, but we are living in darkness.
We need to check ourselves. We may claim to have a great relationship with God, but if we are unable to show love to people around us then we are not living in a true relationship with God. We can always make claims but our claims cannot be true unless we practice it.
Jesus, during his ministry on earth, taught and reminded people to love, honor and have a healthy relationship with the people around them. Mark 12:31 says, the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”. If you love people just as you love yourself, you will love them unconditionally, honor them and seek to maintain a healthy relationship with them.
Let us remember to love people just the way God loved us.