Love and Hate; Light and Dark

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

1 John 2:7-11

In these verses, John gives one more comparison and contrast: This time it is love and hate, light and darkness. If we are in Christ, then we must love our brother and sister.  If we claim to be in Christ, yet we hate our brother or sister, then we cannot be in Christ; I think this is a fair summary of John’s point.

You will recall from the previous passages that John made the point that if we are in Christ, we must live our lives like Christ. In fact, he has made this point several times in various ways, but recall in particular 2:3-6.  Where in the Gospels can we find any indication whatsoever that Jesus ever hated anyone? Far from it!  We see Him showing love in all cases, even when He let the Pharisees have it with the seven woes.  Remember, right after that, Jesus is lamenting the fact that despite all that God has done, they insisted on turning against Him; Jesus was clearly grieved by this.  (Matt. 23:37 ff.)  When you reduce the Christian faith down to its simplest form, and I am a fan of doing this, its central idea is love God; love your neighbor. There is no room for hate in that formula.

Our brother may irritate us now and then, he may also let us down.  In truth, our brother may well be every bit as imperfect as we are, but we are to love him anyway, just as he is to love us anyway, just as Jesus loves all of us anyway. Remember that love means that we put the interests of the other person ahead of our own.

To this message from John, I’d like to add my own observation:  How much damage do you suppose has been done over the years to the Gospel by people calling themselves Christians, who fail to demonstrate His love to others? How many thousands have said “no” to Christ because of some so-called believers, who show an attitude of hatred for other people? How many have left the faith because of this behavior in the church?

Those who hate rather than love can call themselves whatever they like, they may fool many people, but they cannot fool God, and I would respectfully suggest they repent, and do so quickly.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Bible and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Love and Hate; Light and Dark

  1. God is a much better judge than we are since only he has insight on the heart of people. It’s so true that hate can repel people from the gospel. The gospel message really comes through when we show God’s love to others. Thanks for the post.

  2. DWMartens says:

    I’ve heard several times an expression to the effect, “Any label will do on an empty bottle.” Somewhat related, having spent my entire working career as a hospital pharmacist, the illegality of, and harm caused by mislabeling medicine comes to mind. To me, calling oneself a follower of Christ, and not being a true follower, is mislabeling and indeed causes untold of harm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s