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1 John 3
11 ¶ This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14 ¶ We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence
20 ¶ whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God
Have you had a good Christmas? Did Omicron stop you meeting friends and family as much as you would have liked? They say that Christmas is one of the times most likely to cause divorce. It is when we meet with people that we feel we should get on well with, but who we actually find quite difficult.
I remember during the miner’s strike in Bolsover I was teaching a pupil who a young wife. Her husband was on strike and at home. She told me how she realised that she realised she didn’t like him. It was alright while he was at work but not when he was with her a lot more of the time. Sometimes people who have been married for years, separate when they are retired because they are now together more of the time and find they don’t have common interests. It is particularly sad when one person was looking forward to retirement together and never saw the break up coming and is devasted.
In today’s reading, John says that anyone who does not love remains in death. At a wedding recently a poem was read out that describes the ups and downs of marriage in a beautiful way. And this does not just apply to a formal relationship. We have ups and downs in informal relationships too. John goes as far as to equating hate with murder and says that no murderer has eternal life in him.
The world of TV and Internet has opened our eyes more to what is happening in the world outside our own personal life. Before we gave money to charity and hoped it was doing some good. Now we can see in vivid detail the horrors that people are suffering due to the climate and conflicts. I feel overwhelmed by the scale of it and am so grateful for those people who give up time and money to serve for charities in dangerous situations. All the spending at Christmas reminds me to also spend on my brother and sister in other parts of the world.
VERSE 18: Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us! What more can I say?
God our Father,
in love you sent your Son
that the world may have life:
lead us to seek him among the outcast
and to find him in those in need,
for Jesus Christ’s sake.