It's so easy to love cuddly people. It's those prickly ones...
That apostle John sure knew how to challenge the status quo in Christ-followers. His first epistle is chock full of truth about loving God and loving others. If you are under any false pretense that you can say you love Jesus but hold anger and bitterness (read: hatred) against someone else, well, reading these epistles will shake you from that wrong thinking pretty quickly.
I was challenged by this particular piece: We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:14-15)
What Christian is going to admit she hates somebody else? I've heard women INSIST they absolutely do not hate another person...even though they can't stand to be in the same room as her. Even though they haven't spoken to her in years. Even though...
In order to know the spirit of truth, and uncover the spirit of error, we must ask God to reveal our hearts to us. If we are nursing a grudge, insisting on our way, severing fellowship, we need to step back a moment and look at the writing on the wall. Remember, John told us right off the bat in this letter that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Maybe we need to begin there?
After admitting, after confessing, we need to determine what is love. The love that John is referring to is not just lip-service. And, it's not only a feel-good tingly feeling. When we 'love the brethren' this means we are
not dishonoring others
not easily angered
not holding grudges (keeping no record of wrongs)
So, think for a moment. Are you--am I?--saying that we love someone, yet we are not displaying this Biblical love? We must uncover any errors in our thinking. We must seek the truth of God and respond accordingly. I am utterly dependent on God to love the hard-to-love. Apart from Him, my hatred shows through. I am not alone in this.
May we all have ears to hear God as He speaks His word to us.