I John 2:9-10
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 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.”
When John talks about loving or hating a brother or sister, it’s easy for us to feel pretty self-righteous and pat ourselves on the back. Certainly we love our brothers and sisters. Surely we don’t hate any of them. Do we? What about when one of them does something to us or says something to us or about us that strikes us the wrong way–hard? Do we still love them then? Or do they cease being our brother or sister when they do something that offends us?
While they are still in our good graces it is relatively easy to shrug off a snub, but when it happens one too many times it isn’t easy any more. We may resist lashing out to retaliate, but the friendship is badly damaged and maybe destroyed. Is that loving the brother or sister? How can we go from nursing our hurt feelings and loving ourselves to confronting them in love and restoring the friendship? That is where we get the real test of whether we are walking in darkness or light. Are we willing to make the first move to patch up the breach and restore the friendship? What we need is the love that Peter talked about in 1 Peter 4:8 when he said “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Are we willing to love that deeply? Is walking in light that important to us? It’s up to us to make the choice!