Love of Light
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
Of all the things that Christ has commanded us as believers, this commandment is sometimes difficult for me. The command that John is referring to is the same one found in John 13:34. It’s the command that tells me just as Jesus loved me—a wretched, filthy sinner—I am to love you, too. I know that if I hate you, I walk in darkness. I am also that guy that has to look up words to know what they meant to the people who wrote them. So, I know that the word love means to love dearly and to be fond of, while the word hate means to detest, to persecute, or to love less. In fact, Thayer’s defines hate as ‘pursue with hatred’.
I struggle with the whole be fond of everyone aspect. Especially in those moments when I am stopped behind someone at a right-turn merge lane and they are treating the merge lane as if it’s a come-to-a-complete-stop turn. There is 1,000 feet of merge lane in front of you, why are you stopped there looking for an opening? If I really peel back the layers a bit, I can even see where my words have pursued others from an inner space of intense dislike, ill will and anger. If I subject someone to hostility and ill-treatment because I have felt slighted by them, or they have done something I do not like, am I not persecuting them? Something I have had to examine for myself.
We all struggle with this on some level in today’s culture. Even as believers, one word can bring out all the detestable qualities in us: politics. If we say we are believers, Trump supporters and we are voting Trump in 2020, this can cause some serious angst in fellow Christ-followers. Likewise, if we say that we are liberal, support Bernie and call ourselves believers, this can cause serious ruffled feathers as well. Politics is an easy one to point out. Some believers may not even agree that we can support Trump and be true Christians, while others might claim that there is no way to be a believer and a liberal. Whatever our leanings, John makes it clear that we are to follow the command of love and not detest our brothers and sisters. Regardless of what we may feel with respect to politics.
John tells us that if we hate our brother we walk in darkness. This echoes what Paul says in Romans 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Considering this in tandem with what John wrote, we are supposed to lay aside the qualities we had while in darkness. In fact, Paul also said in Ephesians 5:8, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” We are commanded to love one another and set aside our lack of fondness, to put on the armor of Light and walk as sons and daughters of God, just as Jesus Himself did. This is what the Bible commands us to do.
So, where are you going wrong with this? Do you persecute fellow Christians with legalism? Trying to convince them that they need to put themselves back up under the Law, rather than live in the Grace of God? Do you hate on other believers out of an insecurity that they have cultivated their talents more so than yourself? Perhaps you hate on fellow believers because you need to elevate yourself above those around you from a place of feeling inadequate?
We can overcome all of this by choosing to be obedient to God and walk as children of Light. In darkness, there is much to fear. The adversary counts on that. I used to say as a child I was not afraid of the dark, I was afraid of what was in the dark. When we are in the dark, we can’t see where we are missing the mark and we fall prey to the things that we cannot see around us or within us due to that spiritual darkness. The longer we remain in that state of darkness, the more we open ourselves to all of the sinful ways that reside within it. So, what about you? Will you repent? Will you step away from the shadow of darkness? Will you make sure that you are wearing the Armor of Light?
Until Next Time