This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
1 John 3:11-15 NLT
John reminds us of the importance of loving one another. He uses as an illustration two brothers—Cain and Abel. We read their story in Genesis. Cain committed the first murder in the Bible by killing his brother, Abel. He killed his brother out of jealously. Sometimes in life we can do the right thing and people will still hate us. We can love God and love people but because of their sin they will hate us. They might even hurt us or attack us and there is nothing we can do to correct the issue because they are acting out of their own guilt. Recently a pastor friend of mine received a twenty-five (25) page email from someone in his church who spilled out all his complaints about the church. It is hard for me to imagine 25 pages of complaints. My friend was devastated. As he shared the issue with me, I immediately was reminded of an old saying, “hurt people hurt people.” As we dove into this issue, we discovered this man had a father who regularly sent him long emails telling him everything he was doing wrong in life. The person who was supposed to love and support him chose to always be critical and attacking. The man had become wired to attack others—especially those he liked. He did not have the capacity to be positive or encouraging to anyone. As followers of Christ we must realize we will have difficult times and people will be difficult. But we must choose to love them anyway. John says if we don’t love our fellow believers, we are murderers. Wow, that is strong language.
Holy Spirit show me anyone in my life that I need to love better. Forgive me for my anger, hatred, or jealously. Help me to love everyone.
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