“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 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 2.9-11
If we were to look at this passage as a child, very literal, we might shed some light on this word from God to the people.
John writes, “anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother or sister is still in the darkness.” Imagine someone bragging to their friends that they are in the limelight, stage light, in a play. They brag at school that they have a lead role, know all their lines and will steal the show. Yet when the friends go to watch the play, they discover this person isn’t the main actor but is behind the stage opening and closing the curtains for the real actors.
Those who claim one things, in this case — to be in the light are actually in darkness. Like the false actor, they might think they are in the light surrounded by God’s love and doing the will of the Lord, but they are far from him. Why? Lack of love, and perhaps forgiveness, are keeping this person in the light.
However, John continues, “anyone who loves their brother or sister lives in the light, and they’re is nothing in them to make them stumble.” Love is all it takes to move us from darkness to light. Love, not acceptance, mind you, is what it takes. Loving someone doesn’t mean we have to accept their behavior. Loving someone doesn’t mean we have to have heard their confession or evidenced a change in them or witnessed forgiveness. Loving someone means we love them like Christ loved us — “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.8)
If we love our enemies, those who do not love us, we clear the path for living in the light. As John says, “there is nothing in us to make us stumble.” Not loving is a hindrance to us living in the light. We turn off the tap to God’s flow of blessing. Not loving means we are not available to receive God’s love for ourselves. This is why we must love others — even those who have hurt us. Otherwise we will be unable to live in the light of God’s love for ourselves.
Living in the light is so much better than living in sin and being spiritually blinded. Why not live in the light today? Why not cling to Jesus? Trust in his word? Lean upon his grace? This life is so short and our days are numbered on this earth. But those who follow Jesus will have everlasting life.
Are you living in the light?
“O Lord God, I am but a representative of your truth and gospel. I thank you for the power of your love and for the grace offered to all people. Come Holy Spirit, fill me up with your power and might. Help me know the truth and trust you every step of every day. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen