Do You Know Him? (Part 2)

Scott Stevenson

“The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:9–11, HCSB)

I’m not going to pretend that this is a strong area for me, and I don’t sin when it comes to loving my brother. “If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8, HCSB) It is easy to love those who love you, but those who disrespect, hold grudges just like you or better, that’s a whole different story. The good thing is that we all sin, but are we obeying Jesus when this particular sin comes up?

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44, HCSB). “For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46, HCSB).

This sin is an area that you have to decide if you are going to obey God or not. Just because two people are participating in sin against one another, one can make up his or her mind to bend their will to the Lord. So does that mean we let brothers and sisters act as if they don’t know Jesus?

You don’t condone a person’s sin, but the delivery of a rebuke is a two edge sword. It affects you and the other person. What typically happens when you talk to folks about problems? They usually start pointing out your shortcomings. Are we willing to listen? Can you receive as you give? “A wise son responds to his father’s discipline, but a mocker doesn’t listen to rebuke.” (Proverbs 13:1, HCSB) “Better an open reprimand than concealed love.” (Proverbs 27:5, HCSB) The way to stop the hate is to keep Christ has as the mediator (with scripture).

The way a Christian lives his or her life will end most disagreements without saying a word. When people see the way you live, it changes behavior or stops certain sin from happening at all. Have you ever had someone apologize to you for cursing and you never told them you were a Christian? On rare occasions, there are some “Christians” that don’t want to hear scripture, or they will look through you and not even acknowledge scripture. I know that doesn’t even sound right because it’s not right, but it happens. A red flag should go up. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5, HCSB). We have to decide if we are going to accept God’s Word as our standard for living.

This passage is speaking directly to Christians because of the use of the word “brother” in the verse. As I write this devotional, I have to think about how I’m going to apply this in my life. There may be a few of you out there that would say, “I would like to see that”, and I agree. I want to see more transformation produced in my life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,” (Galatians 5:22, HCSB). This sin is a hurdle I want to get over with the help of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Lord. I want to remain in the light; I don’t want to cause other brothers and sisters to sin even more due to my worldly attitude.

The word “stumbling” means to cause a brother or sister to sin, and according to scripture the Lord has a big problem with this. “But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” (Matthew 18:6, HCSB). I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the Lord when it comes to this area of my life. That means I need to repent and turn from my sin. The person that truly loves others is the reflection of Christ. That is a testament to if you truly know the Lord or not.

I know it is hard to say no to sin, but remember this verse:

“For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:36, HCSB)

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