FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
LOVING ONE ANOTHER
FAITH AND FRATERNAL LOVE
May 6, 2012
Today’s reading: 1 John 3:18-24
As God’s children and Jesus’ disciples, we are to obey God. We are to obey God’s commandments. “And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.” (1 Jn 3:23).
What makes us Christians? We become Christians when we believe in the name of Jesus, the Son of God. This is when we put our faith in Jesus, whom we look to as Savior and Lord. This is basic. But what is also basic, what is part and parcel of our faith, is loving one another. We love and look to not only Jesus, but we love and look to each other.
Now it is easy enough to love Jesus, because he is so lovable and perfect. But the challenge is to love our brethren, who are not so lovable, who are so imperfect. I suppose this is one reason why God has to command us to love one another. It does not come naturally. It is not easy. In fact, due to our fallen flesh, we are prone to strife, conflict and division.
Faith in Jesus and love for brethren go together. If we say we love God, but hate our brother, then we lie. If we do not obey God’s command to love one another, then we cannot remain in Jesus. “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them” (1 Jn 3:24a). By not loving one another, we in effect reject Jesus who has commanded us to love.
On the other hand, obeying God’s command to love one another is key to prayers answered, blessings and empowerment. We will “receive from him whatever we ask” (1 Jn 3:22a). Why? Because we are God’s beloved children whom He wants to bless, on whom He wants to pour out His goodness. If we are obedient children, if we live our lives according to His ways, then we are pleasing to the Father. As such, God has no reason not to bless us abundantly. We can receive whatever we ask “because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1 Jn 3:22b).
Now none of us will object to what has been said. We all will give our assent to the rightness of loving one another. But the challenge is to actually do what we say we will do. We do not just assent verbally, but we act in love. “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (1 Jn 3:18).
How do we love in deed and truth?
* We not only do no wrong to our brethren, but we harbor no ill will towards them in our hearts.
* We sincerely desire only what is good for our brethren, and rejoice in their blessings.
* We speak of our brethren in ways that are positive and uplifting. This is not to be blind to their shortcomings and weaknesses, but to decide to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
* We correct our brethren when there is a need to do so, but always with love and respect .
* We encourage our brethren, especially during difficult times.
* We may disagree but never be disagreeable. We handle conflicts according to the ways of the Lord and our community, always preserving peace and unity.
* We stand ready to assist our brethren with our resources, within the structures of community life.
When we do the above, and even more, then “this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him” (1 Jn 3:19).
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