9The one who says that he is in the Light and yet hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. 10The one who loves his brother and sister remains in the Light, and there is nothing in him to cause stumbling. 11But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.1 JOHN 2:9-11
Love is action. This action has an orientation. It is angled toward the God-defined well-being of those around us, specifically Christians. John ties light and love together in this passage by noting that the two walk hand in hand. To walk in love is to walk in the light. Those who do not love are blinded. This is, of course, most applicable in tight-knit communities. But families often experience a certain cruelty in our love. John challenges this way of behaving. In linking these things, he calls Christians are called to know each other as family, so it is not surprising that the family of God is often cruel to each other. The family of God should not be this way. Our Christ-informed inclination is to be tenderhearted as a feature. This is to be a defining facet of the gravity that Christianity has. It is a part of the light that draws people out of the darkness. But when Christians don’t love each other, they cause people to stumble back into darkness. After all, at least you can hide in the dark. In the light, with a target for hostility, you are exposed and vulnerable. This is why many have left the church. This should not be so. We are called to a love that is not blind and self-sacrificial. We are called to a light that is merciful and tenderhearted and that extends God’s grace. This is the love that Christ showed us. Anything less is not love.
This post first appeared at JoshMcGary.com