LOVING OUR BRETHREN

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

 

LOVING ONE ANOTHER

(Part Eight)

 

LOVING OUR BRETHREN

 

January 5, 2012

Today’s reading: 1 John 3:11-21

 

 

We continue from yesterday’s reading. There we saw the imperative of loving our brethren. So important is this that we were shown the contrasts.

 

Loving our brethren

Not loving our brethren

Righteous

Fails in righteousness

Begotten by God

Belongs to the devil

Child of God

Child of the devil

 

Today John continues the contrast between one who loves his brethren and one who does not.

 

Loving our brethren

Not loving our brethren

Belongs to God

Belongs to the evil one

Works are righteous

Works are evil

Hated by the world

Loved by the world

Passed from death to life

Remains in death

Loves his brother

Hates his brother

Lays down life for brothers

Takes life of a brother; a murderer

Compassion for those in need

Refuses compassion

Love of God remains in him

No eternal life in him

Love in deed and truth

Love only in word or speech

 

Cain murdered his brother Abel. When we look at the story in the book of Genesis, we see that “Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil.” (Gen 4:3). God even spoke to him about his unacceptable offering. Cain had an ongoing relationship with God.

Today we have Christians, who may be people who pray and have some kind of relationship with God, but who murder their brethren, in physical or non-physical ways.

* The mother who aborts her child (and the father who encourages or even forces it).

* The woman who uses contraceptives that are abortifacient.

* The family members who force euthanasia on their sick elderly parents.

* The person with HIV/AIDS who persists in indiscriminate sex.

* The person who unjustly lies and maligns another, spreading falsehoods and succeeding in destroying the other’s name and reputation.

 

We who are trying to live a Christian life might never even remotely consider that we might be in danger of being murderers, but we need to be very careful. The enemy can use our shortcomings and wrongdoings to cause greater sin, even murder. Consider:

* The Christian leaders who get into serious conflict with other leaders. “Wrangling among the haughty ends in bloodshed.” (Sir 27:15a).

* Those who are envious of others, including leaders of Christian nations who covet the resources of other nations. “You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war.” (Jas 4:2).

* The Catholic legislators who legalize abortion, divorce, sexual license and same-sex unions. “For while they celebrate either child-slaying sacrifices or clandestine mysteries, or frenzied carousals in unheard-of rites, they no longer safeguard either lives or pure wedlock; but each either waylays and kills his neighbor, or aggrieves him by adultery.” (Wis 14:23-24).

 

When Cain failed in loving his brother Abel, it resulted in murder. This is why God’s word has been consistent. “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another.” (1 Jn 3:11).

God warned Cain: “If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door” (Gen 4:7). Here is God’s clear warning to us today: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.” (1 Jn 3:15).

Rather than taking another’s life, we ought to be ready to give our life for another. This was the way of Jesus. “The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 Jn 3:16).

If we are ready to lay down our lives for our brethren, then we certainly should be ready and willing to help those among our brethren who are in need. “If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?” (1 Jn 3:17).

 

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