1 John 2:7-11
“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.”
The Apostle John calls the people he is writing to “Dear friends.” John was writing to remind his dear friends about an old commandment they have known from the beginning. This is also a new commandment that is true in Jesus and those who believe in Jesus.
The old commandment John is referring to is found in Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus gave His followers the second greatest commandment to follow, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). He also told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another: (John 13:34). Loving our neighbor is not optional, it is a command. All of Jesus’s commands benefit all people. Loving people is living in the light and proves a person is a true believer in Christ. A person who says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in the darkness of sin. The person loving his brother lives in the light and does not stumble. The person hating his brother walks in the darkness and does not know where he is going because no one can see in the darkness. The test for genuine Christianity is loving people.
This time of year is BUSY!! No matter the age of your kids, as a parent you are running around getting everything needed for “back-to-school”! From the sports physical to school supply list, it is never ending. I am the first to admit that I get caught up in my own family and getting things done. Then, I read todays reading and it was a HUGE reminder to me. I need to stop! God does not command me to make sure everything is perfect for my kids to go back to school. He commands me to love my neighbor. What have I done for any of my neighbors recently??
This was made clear to me 2 weeks ago. My husband travels out of the country frequently and on a Wednesday, he found out he had to leave on that coming Sunday for Germany. He was to be gone for 2 weeks. This was not a happy surprise to me. We had end of the summer things we were going to do as a family and he would miss sending his son back to college. After a bit of time and discussion I came around and decided to make the best of the situation as there was not much I could do to change the fact that he would be gone. But, one thing that God wanted to make clear to me is that my neighbors cared about me! The day after he left I received an email from Starbucks. I had to reread it a few times, but it was from my friend! She sent me a Starbucks gift card to enjoy with my kids while Tim was out of the country. She said she knows from first hand experience how it feels when her husband is gone and wanted to make sure I knew she was thinking of me!! Wow! When I saw her a few days later I told her how thoughtful it was and she told me how she follows through with every thought she has about how she can bless others. I was honest, I said, “I have lots of thoughts, but I don’t usually follow through.” But, I also said that her love for me showed me tangibly what that means, and I will do much better at following through to actually show others that I love them.
This is our commandment! That we love one another! Both, physically and tangibly. What have you done to go above and beyond to show someone that you care about them? If you love your neighbor, you are living in the light!
Choosing to love people well shows the world what God is like.