The World Hates/Let Us Love

1 John 3:11-15 (NIV)
 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
Jesus told His disciples:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:35 (NIV)

The Apostle John took this to heart as he wrote chapter 3 in his first letter.  The world is full of so much hatred.  These people hate those people.  This religion hates that religion.  This ethnicity hates that ethnicity.  This country hates that country.  Hatred is the world’s default mode.  Hatred rules the day and love is rare.
Yet, love is what we who belong to Jesus are called to do.  We are called to love God first and foremost and to love our fellow Christ followers unconditionally.  We are commanded to love our families, our friends, our neighbors and even our enemies.  The world is filled with hate.  The church should be filled with love.  This means that we have to forgive grievances.  It means that we have to encourage each other.  It means that we need to sometimes bear with each other.  We won’t always like our fellow disciples, but we do have to love each other until we like each other again.  
Love is tough and requires that we do some pretty tough things.  We might have to rebuke someone because we love them.  We might have to confront someone and hold them accountable because we love them.  We might have to forgive the seemingly unforgivable because we love them.  
The command to love our brothers and sisters is not optional because it is so counter-cultural.  When the world spreads hatred, Christians respond in love and kindness.  That is the kind of thing that the world notices.  “There’s something different about those Christians!”  Yes, world, there is something different about us.  We love, love, love each other even when it is hard to do.  For our Master, Jesus Christ, taught us to do just that.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to live a life of love today.  When I am tempted to hate or harbor bitterness, help me to love.  When I am tempted to respond with sarcasm or anger, help me to love.  When I am tempted to divide, let love unite.  Thank You for Your love.  I ask for these things in the mighty name of Jesus, amen.

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