Love As He Loves!

1 John 3:11-15

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

How would you define the word love? What about the word hate? These two words have lost their meanings in our confused society! We love Ice-cream. We love our children. We love our car. We hate broccoli. We hate road construction. We hate spiders! Do you see how these words are all over the place in the way we use them? Does the love for our kids compare to how we feel about our car? Do we actually look at broccoli with malice and hatred? (notice I didn’t say a thing about spiders 🙂 It is no wonder that verses like these lose their potency as we skim over them! The biblical understanding of Love and Hate is foreign to our the way we see things today.
John says we are to love one another. The greeks had a few different words that we translate as love. The one used here is agape. This is the type of Love that Christ has for us. Self sacrificing, others first, humble, God-exalting. That definition definitely does not apply to ice-cream! We learn from these verse that one of the marks of a true Christian is this kind of love! Someone who does not know Christ cannot love as Christ loved. I think we who have been redeemed by His grace only experience a small taste of the eternal Love that He has for us, but it is that small glimpse, along with His in-dwelling presence that makes agape type love even possible. 
Then John tells us that the world hates those who follow Christ. The evidence of this is all around us as lawsuits are filed to removed crosses and verses from public land. We see it in facebook posts where they aren’t just satisfied to say that they disagree with the Bible. Instead the breath hate filled language out for scripture and anyone who follows Christ. The greek word here is “miso”. This word isn’t quite so exact to define so we must look at the context. The source of this hate is Satan and is seen in the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. Hate here equals murder and this is what Christ said in Matthew 5:21-22. It should not be a surprising thing to us that the world despises Christians and all they stand for, it should actually be expected. 
So what is our response? In the face of the hatred of this world, the persecution of the saints and the all of the opposition toward scriptural living what are we to do? I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Go back to verse 11. We are to love them. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus tells us, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” If Christ is our example and on that cross he prayed “Father, forgive them” then we can do no different. Is this radical? You Bet! Is this difficult? Absolutely! But if God love us enough to send His only son to die for our sin, pay our penalty, take His wrath and our place – when we were His enemies – then how then can we return hate for hate, when He answered with Grace and Love?
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us ask God to search our hearts. If there is any hate within us for the souls who He loved enough to die for then we must ask God to replace this with His love. If there is any hate in us – let it be for the sin that separates from God! May we Live as He Lived, Love as He Loved, Give as He Gave, Pray as He Prayed, and show the world how awesome the Grace of God truly is!