Devotional: March 18, 2021
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.
First John 2: 9-11 The Message
“Hey, you make a better door than a window!” With a smile on their face, people sometimes say this phrase when someone is blocking their view. Fortunately, the usual response is, “Sorry! I didn’t realize I was blocking your view!”
Preventing anyone from seeing something wonderful is thoughtless. It takes away the joy from others, and can even be cruel. As Christians, our actions should always reflect God’s light, never covering it up. Like a lighthouse on a seacoast, we can point lost souls towards safety and security. We need to show them the way home to God!
In these verses, John implies that there is a connection between light and love. If we claim to live in God’s light, we need to love God, but we also need to love others as well. This includes those who are challenging for us to like, let alone love.
Unfortunately, some people claim to live in God’s light, but still have hate in their heart towards other people. Not just dislike, but absolute hatred. Sadly, I have met a few such people. My guess is that you may have as well.
Here, John points out two huge problems with such inconsistent individuals.
The first is the effect they have on other people. They actually block others from receiving God’s light, and His love! Hate-filled individuals may say they love God, but their actions and words tell a different story. They become a stumbling block to others. Often, it is to those who either do not know the Lord, or are beginning to grow in their faith who see this inconsistency in someone who claims to be a Christian. It’s almost a “Do as I say, and not as I do,” philosophy! Those who hate may think they are hiding their true feelings, but the darkness in their heart usually seeps out. Others see the truth.
The second major problem with those who claim to love God, but still have hate in their hearts, is that they deceive themselves. They think they are walking on both sides of the line at the same time. Yet in truth, they are only walking in the darkness. You cannot have it both ways. John describes them as being totally “in the dark.” They are stumbling around, like someone does in the middle of the night, when it is the darkest. They are living in that same darkness while trying to convince themselves that they are in the light. It is impossible to serve the light and the darkness at the same time. Unfortunately, those who try to do so are in very real danger becoming lost. God’s word points out the tragic fact that if we let hatred into our lives, we ourselves will become blinded to the light.
Hatred of people never, ever, serves the cause of Christ. We are to hate sin, but we must never hate our brothers and sisters.
The Season of Lent is a time of self-examination for believers. Look deep inside your heart and examine yourself. Are you harboring some hatred for another? Do you accept God’s forgiveness for your sin? Why then can you not forgive someone else? That person may or may not ask you for forgiveness. Yet their silence should not become a stumbling block for you. Ask God to help you forgive, and let go of the anger and the hurt. Ask Him to help you release any anger you nmight be clinging to as part of a bitter memory. Find your way towards forgiveness, remembering always that God has forgiven you.
My hope and prayer for all of us, myself included, is to release all feelings of anger, hate, and revenge. We want to rid ourselves and the world of such stumbling blocks. In doing so, we provide to others, but also to ourselves as well, a clear view of Christ. We see His light shining on all who look to Him. Be a window, and not a door…
Thank You, Lord, that You are the beacon of light showing me how to live my life. Forgive me when my actions and words are not consistent with who You want me to be. Help me to forgive others, as You have forgiven me. Wipe my slate clean, and let me never be a stumbling block to others, by allowing hatred to creep into my heart. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.