It's amazing how quickly things can escalate. The song we took today's title from speaks of love, and sometimes how it just hits you right between the eyes, but what I'm speaking of is the blatant hate that people can have for one another. All you have to do is turn on the news and see that someone has been hurt, attacked, shot, or whatever else may have happened...because the people happen to disagree with one another! Though we may not physically beat one another, in the church, we can do the same thing. I once read a book "Gun in Hand, Bible in Pocket" about the circuit riding preachers of the old west. Toward the end, it spoke of strife between congregations (the author also had an obvious bias, but that's a different story). Denominational raiding parties (what??) would burn one another's churches down. It was pretty insane! The sad thing is, though we don't conform to physical violence any more, our words can do so much more damage. We teach that God is Love, but we hold murder for one another in our hearts. That is WRONG! 1 John tells us that anyone who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar. Did you read that right? Well, you might say "you don't know what he/she is like," or "you don't know what he/she did to me," or "you don't know what happened." Whatever excuse you have to be mean, cruel, or to downright be hateful toward anyone is a sin! Jesus' new commandment was that we LOVE one another, and that the world would know we are HIS by how WE LOVE one another! Over and over again, the New Testament teaches unity. It teaches humility with love, it teaches blessing and not cursing anyone (even those who curse us, I'm looking at Romans 12). What can YOU do to mend the fence? How can you love those you may have deemed unlovable? Just look at how God loves us in our worst selves, and emulate that love for others. If God can love me at my absolute worst, I can love ANYONE ( yes anyone and everyone) at theirs!
1 John 3 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's[b] seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Love One Another
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,[c] 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,[d]and God[e] in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
a. 1 John 3:2 Or when it appears
b. 1 John 3:9 Greek his
c. 1 John 3:13 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 14, 16
d. 1 John 3:24 Greek him
e. 1 John 3:24 Greek he