February 17. 1 John 2:1-14
Dear fellow students of the Word, how thankful I am for you! Thanks for daily getting up and making the time to meet with God "with me" as I do the same! Thanks for caring enough to not just rush through it, but find a verse and talk to God in your response to it. Thanks for wanting to walk in the light. It's so nice to not be alone.
Speaking of "dear" did you notice how John starts out calling his fellow Christians dear children? What a sweet thing to say. He's the older statesman now, and the majority of the people receiving this letter are younger than him in age and younger than him in spiritual years as well. He doesn't call them church-goers or parishioners. He calls them My dear children. This implies love. This implies the attentiveness and care of a parent who wants what is best for his child. Starting this way helps soften some blunt talk in the verses that follow.
John does not tiptoe around hard things, does he? People who love God and are committed to following Him and acting like Him cannot hate others. It's just not the way it ought to be! God's love compels us to love others - even the Very Hard To Love! If we are hating someone and trying to be God's loving child and we really belong to Him, we will be in immense turmoil over the whole deal, because the Holy Spirit will be tugging at us to let go of bitterness and rancor even as we fight to hold on to it. This is not the Christian way. John's crystal clear on this point.
So. What if you ARE harboring bitter and angry thoughts? I have been there, friend. It's not easy to choose love when you've been wounded and you want to see the one who hurt you punished! But with God's help, over time, He can remove the layers of bitterness and give you a heart that loves. Love never means denying the truth or declaring that an evil act was good. But love sees past the ugliness of sin to the soul beneath it in desperate need of saving. Love wants to see life change in an enemy and restoration and healing for them so they can live out the good purpose God has for them. So, don't despair if you are in that wrestling place. Come to God with it. Find a godly counselor to help. Understand that hatred cripples you and also hurts your family and friends although that is not your intention. Seek to love as He loves. He will help you over time. And it's okay if it takes time! Let's step into the light and learn to love.
My verse: 1 John 2:5. "But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him."
My response: Love and obedience walk together for the child of God. I show my love for You, Lord, by doing what pleases You. Help me to be ever eager to please You and obey You and bring You joy, for You are my very Source of joy and my sure hope and Light.