In Right Relationships
1 John 2:9-11 (NKJV) He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Being obedient isn’t always easy, but it is always necessary. 1 John goes to great lengths to challenge us to know the value of living a life of obedience. John spends the first chapter and a half calling us into an obedient life with the Father. Once he feels like he has pounded that point home, he moves straight to a challenge about how we should treat one another. In other words, the fact that he goes straight from addressing our relationship with our Father to addressing our relationships to one another means that he must feel it is a big deal. In fact, he takes it a step further. He basically says that if we can’t get it right with one another, then we will destroy what we have with Him.
As someone who had served in ministry for the past 27 years, I would say it is problem number one for the church. We are often ready at the drop of a hat to kick others to the curb. We see or hear about them doing something we don’t agree with and we decide it’s over. They say or do something that hurts us or our kids, and we throw them out like they were yesterday’s leftovers. While that sounds like a great plan from an earthly point of view, in the economy of heaven; it is never allowed. God never said it would be easy to love as He loved, He just said it was expected. If God treated us like we treat each other, we would all be in big trouble.
I know what I am about to say sounds much easier said than done, but I need to tell you something that I believe is essential if you are going to grow deep in Christ. Whoever you’re mad at, forgive them. I don’t care what they did to you or someone you know. You have no other choice but to forgive them, love them, and pray for them. When you entered into a covenant with Jesus, you forfeited your right to a spiritual opinion where His word is concerned. You no longer live life on your terms. You are now living a life based on His. His call is to love and forgive. By the way, it isn’t optional!