Bible Reading: 1 John 2.7-11
Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2.7-11
As parents, it can be a little scary to admit how often we repeat ourselves when it comes to giving instruction to our children. The command, “Be gentle with your brother”, was given the first day our second son arrived on the scene. Some variation of this “love your brother” phrase has been spoken (and sometimes heard) almost every day since. In our family, you could say that this parental instruction is old, yet new every day.
Way back in Leviticus 19:8, Moses gave us the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”, so this is not a new concept. However, Jesus tells his disciples in John’s gospel, “A new command I give to you, love one another.” So, in what sense is this command new? Jesus continues in John 13:34, “…even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” So, Jesus is saying the command to love others becomes new in the “true Light” of His life and example.
Jesus showed us the new extent to which love could reach; namely, to sinners. We also see in His life the new lengths to which love could go. Nothing men did to Him could turn Jesus’ love to hate. He even prayed for mercy on the men who were nailing Him to a cross. That’s why John tells us in today’s passage that if we harbor hate for others in our heart, we are out of fellowship with Jesus. More than that, we are stumbling around in the dark without a clue.
Let us examine our hearts today for any grudges, and then confess them to God (1 John 1:9), so we can turn “the Light” back on!
Weekly Memory Verse: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 1 John 1.6