Reading: 1 John 3:4–10
My older brother was and is one of my best friends. We got along great growing up and rarely fought. I wish I could say the same about my little brother. We were certainly friends too and had many, many great times together, so don’t misunderstand me there. But this particular passage from 1 John always convicted me.
I loved my brother because he was, after all, my brother. But too often I also harbored anger and hatred towards him. And here in plain text it says that the one who does not love his brother is a child of the devil. Tough words to swallow.
I am glad to say my brother and I get along great now. But I’m often reminded that my life as a believer has to be one of repentance and forgiveness. How many times did I have to forgive my brother? And how many times must I seek forgiveness from him? As many as there are sins. Our sinful natures too often put us at odds far more than it should have. But as those claimed by Christ, we were given the gift of reconciliation. Love your neighbor, and when you don’t, repent.
Heavenly Father, as You have loved us, may we love our brothers and sisters in Christ and our neighbors near and far; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease;
Then, bound to all in bonds of love,
Our lives will spread Your peace. (LSB 843:4)
Joseph Highley (Sem IV, CSL)