Recently, I had to start a new section in my notebook. Basically my notebook is where I write down all the scriptures I come across that show me more about who God is and what he wants me to be or do. (I explain more about the notebook here) I’ve been reading a Joyce Meyer’s book 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind. Power thought #5 is “I love people and I enjoy helping them.
This power thought is not new. I know God wants me to love people. But when I think about it, I often think of “loving thy neighbor”. “Loving thy neighbor” means loving everyone.
Everyone? Yes, we are suppose to love everyone even our enemies. This is a struggle for me, the showing love part. When I think about loving my neighbor, I think about being nice, kind and considerate, you know when I see them. Joyce, however, includes a verse that really hit me hard when I read it.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. — 1 Jn 3:14-23
1 John delves deeper than “loving thy neighbor” into the state our souls, my soul, if we carry hate in our heart. Or maybe it’s not hate, but we don’t act in a manner that shows love for one another.
This is definitely an area I struggle with, not with hate, but with showing love, especially to those who get on my nerves or don’t act like I want them to. Minor insignificant things might keep me from loving in “deed and in truth”.
This is definitely not the first time I’ve read this passage, but this time it’s really sinking in that God equates hate with being a murderer. We all have a tendency to qualify our sins, I know I do. “This sin is not as bad as that sin. I may do this, but at least I don’t do that”. But giving hate (not loving) the same weight as being a murderer stuns me a little bit.
It creates a sense of urgency in asking God to help me eliminate those barriers that I have that keep me from being the loving person He wants me to be. I don’t want to abide in death or be thought of as a murderer.
This is a passage I’ll be visiting a lot.
What other scriptures are there that show how important it is for us to love one another?