“Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2: 8 -11).
John called the Apostle of Love writes Christians to remind them that “Love is a command.” The commandment to love is both old and new. It is old because, it comes from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19: 18), but it is new because Jesus interpreted it in a radically new way (John 13: 34). In the Christian Church Love goes beyond respect to self-sacrifice and servanthood (John 15: 13). In fact it can be defined as selfless giving. It reaches beyond friends to enemies and persecutors (Matt. 5: 43 – 48). Love should be the unifying force and identifying mark of the Christian Community. It is the key to walking in the light of God, because we cannot grow spiritually while we hate others. Our growing relationship with God will result in growing relationship with others.
Christ commands us to love others as He did. This Love is evidence that we are truly saved. God is the creator of love. Love is the essence of God’s being. There is nothing about God that is not expression of love. The Bible states without apology. “God is love”. If we want to have any understanding of love at all, we must understand that it has its roots, its origin, its clearest demonstration in God himself. If we must understand the true meaning of love, we must understand God, our creator, and the one who loves us.
One hundred and seventy one times in the Old Testament, we read about God’s steadfast love” for His people. Psalm 136 talks about his steadfast love enduring forever. God demonstrated this love by His selfless giving of His only Son to redeem us (John 3: 16).
The book of Hosea illustrates a steadfast love that still accepts sinners like us. The book describes love that would take back a wife who had been unfaithful. In fact the prophet Hosea had just such a wife, he ended up buying her back and bringing her home to be his wife again. God used this painful situation to illustrate the nature of His kind of love for us. Because God’s love is steadfast, He has committed himself totally and eternally to being concerned with our well-being, regardless of our condition or our reaction.
This is what we must do as Christians. Jesus said, a new commandment I give you “Love one another”. We must understand that a commandment is not a suggestion. Jesus did not ask us to consider a possible approach to see if we thought it was practical, he commanded us, and disobedience to commandment is sin, a sinner is in darkness, in danger of destruction, that is why St. John says he who hates his brother is in darkness.
Love means putting others first. Being unselfish. Love is action, showing others we care and forgiving, not just saying it. To show love we must give sacrificially following the example of God. Give sacrificially our time and money to meet the needs of others. For us to effectively contribute to the improvement of our Society, we must always remember the words of Thomas Aquinas – “Creation Sprang from God’s love of giving.