Love’s Broken Record
1 John 3:11,15,18 …We should love one another… Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer… let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
At times, the bible reads like a broken record, repeating certain ideas over and over. As my blog is just walking through the bible, it probably sounds a little repetitive as well. Today’s passage expresses one of those ideas that has been repeated often enough that I would do well to listen.
John, like Peter, Paul and Jesus before him insist that as Christians, we are to be known for our love. It is in our love that the world will know we are different. Jesus taught that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). This love is not just something we are to express in words but rather in deed and truth. The world should be able to see that we as Christians are constantly reaching out in action to show our love to those around us. This is how we are to be known.
This makes me a little uncomfortable. Am I known for my love for others? Or am I a know-it-all? Once, in church, I heard someone say that the Christian’s primary job was to carry the truth to the world. This did not sound quite right but I did not have the confidence to challenge it. When I got home, I went looking for that command and could not find it. I am not suggesting that Christians are not to uphold the truth, but when I see my primary job as truth-bearer, I begin to justify hateful attitudes. When I carry the divine truth but leave love behind, I become a monster.
As God loved me, my first duty to those around me is to love them. I can be in the right and still act wrong if I do not love. John echoes Jesus teaching in saying that my hate, whether expressed or not, makes me guilty of murder. This reveals the destructive nature of my thoughts that I think are secret. My hatred, even when seen by no one, still kills the life in me. God’s love apparently cannot exist in me when I am being hateful to those around me (3:17).
As a Christian, I am to know God’s love and that love is to flow out of me. When I am hateful, even in my secret thoughts, I am not filled with God’s love. I do not want others to know me for hate but rather for love. Just as the bible repeats this message of love over and over, I am to be love’s broken record, continually loving those God has put in my life.