1 John 3:11-17
11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
There’s an urgency in John’s writing – no mucking about – this is what we are to do & be as Christians. Love one another! Straight forward – if we don’t love we live in death. If we hate we are murderers. John is aiming these words at believers, us and our actions towards each other as fellow believers. Seems simple enough. We are to love. John gives us the example of ultimate love – Jesus laying down his life for me, for us.
For John, love is an action, not just words or feelings. He tells me that if I see someone in my world, my Christian friend or church member who has a need, regardless of what it is, and I am aware of that need & can meet it from my own resources BUT don’t, then where is God’s love living in me? John even says ‘refuses’ (v.17 NRSV) to help … implying that we have made a choice, how confronting is this! It’s easy to think that ‘someone’ else will meet the need but in meditating on this, I’m actually seeing that John is challenging my very heart and thought processes, am I making a deliberate choice NOT to help and to give – NOT to love?
Dear Lord, what a challenging passage, I ask your forgiveness where I have made deliberate choices in the past not to help a brother or sister when they have been in need & I’ve been able to assist. I ask that you would continue to refine my heart Lord and help me to love in true actions. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson