READ: 1 John 3:11-18
- Jesus made it clear; not only is murder off the table, the anger that causes it has to be removed as well. John, who would have been listening to Jesus (that day and many others), expresses the sentiment using the word hate. From him we learn that the alternative to murder is not merely, “don’t be angry,” but the positive, “love one another.” If we are busy loving we will not be busy hating, being angry, or murdering.
- John’s words fit the words of Jesus spoken throughout his life and the words of Paul (from last week), when he said, “should owe no man anything” except “love.” When we love we do no harm. When we love we do what is good for another’s well being. When we love, we are being like Jesus in the most obvious way.
- Loving others is challenging work when you are trying to love someone who has harmed you. Loving them doesn’t mean we ignore what they’ve done. It certainly doesn’t mean we give trust to them. It does mean, we treat them well, as we believe Jesus would treat them. We return to the principle that Jesus gave us in the Lord’s Prayer, “Father, forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” “Lord, treat us as we treat others.”
- Who are you having a hard time loving?
- Why do you suppose it’s proving to be so difficult?
- Who can help you fulfill the words of Jesus and begin to respect them?
PRAY: Commit to trying to re-build healthy relationships. Pray for the wisdom to set the right boundaries. Pray for those with whom you interact that they will see love instead of anger.