Wednesday, January 12, 2011

At the Feet of the Disciple Who Jesus Loved

7 My dear friends, I'm not writing anything new here. This is the oldest commandment in the book, and you've known it from day one. It's always been implicit in the Message you've heard. 8 On the other hand, perhaps it is new, freshly minted as it is in both Christ and you—the darkness on its way out and the True Light already blazing!
9 Anyone who claims to live in God's light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. 10 It's the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God's light and doesn't block the light from others. 11 But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn't know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.
1 John 2:7-11 (MSG)

We're walking through John's little letters on Wednesday nights in small group Bible study, and I wonder if anyone will be tripped up by this. The word love here is "agape" which is a steady directed will to do right by another regardless of the personal cost. It's not a "feeling." And yet how many times have we heard about how our feelings are what matters? John is not commanding anyone to feel a certain way about others. He's saying you must, if you are a follower of Jesus, ACT a certain way toward them.

Think about it this way:

When we act properly toward of Christian brothers out of a desire to be obedient to God, we love them.

I'm smiling right now thinking about all the times when Bunny would call the boys together after they were squabbling with each other. She'd have them hug each other and repeat "Adam (or Sean) you are my brother, and I love you very much." Was it forced? Oh yeah. But every single time they would somehow realize in that moment just how special it was to have a brother. They'd usually wind up laughing.

You have, I have people who you don't like. Maybe they've hurt you or hurt someone or something you love. You don't have to like that. You don't have to like them. But John is saying that if you love God, really love Him, you will act in love to them. Over time, I think you'll find yourself more able to love them naturally.

Who said this was easy? :)

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