Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. — 1 John 2:10

In the language of the Bible, love has only three meanings: agape, which is unconditional love, phileo, a warm personal affection, and storge, which is natural affection, such as in a family. There is a fourth Greek word, eros, which points to romantic love, but it is never used in the New Testament. Our command as followers of Christ, is the first, agape. How do we obey our Lord’s instruction to love one another (John 13:34)?

I believe Jesus tells us in John 15:13: “Greater love (agape) has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That means we put ourselves aside and prefer those inside and outside of our Christian family by being kind, compassionate, and caring. That’s where God wants us to live. When we don’t there is a consequence to pay.

But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. — 1 John 2:11

I was at a family retreat in southern Colorado one weekend and at night it would get incredibly dark at the cabin where we were staying. If you got up in the middle of the night, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. I did and I stumbled and banged into a door. It hurt. The next time I turned on the light. It’s a safer journey that way. So I had a choice.

I met a man a few years ago when I was experiencing back problems, whom I really grew to respect He was a massage therapist. He really knew what he was doing and and was a great help to me. The amazing thing is that he was blind. He lived in darkness every day of his life. He had trained himself to get around his therapy room and his home and was very skilled at what he did, but if you were to put something in his way, he couldn’t see it and would no doubt get confused and perhaps hurt himself.

He couldn’t drive, of course, or walk very far away from his environment, but he had trained himself to see his patients in his mind. I use him only as an illustration because even though he was limited, he had trained himself. That’s what happens to us when we hate those God has called us to love. We walk around in spiritual darkness, unable to see the light and and limit our love for others. I want to live in the light. How about you? — Maranatha!

“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”

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