1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
I’m feeling on fire about this today. I think a little of it is, honestly, in contempt of people who have made a religion out of Christ and completely ignore His word, or at least only read and implement part of it. I understand that God’s infinite wisdom is a reminder that it is all in His purpose and He has control over it, but it gets me fired up. Let me tell you why:
John begins by explaining that we are to love believers. He tells us who the children of God are and that we should love them (each other). This brotherly love is stressed throughout the entire bible.
Verse 3 is what we need to grasp. THIS is the gospel! THIS is our charge! When Christ was on earth, the people asked Him what the greatest commandment is: “to love the Lord your God with all your mind, body, and soul and the second one is just like it, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Guess what? It’s the same message! These are the commandments John is talking about. To know God is to love Him. To love Him is to be filled with Him (remember, he who abides in God, God abides in him). God wants us to love. That’s it!
We take verses like this and humanize it out of context. God tells us to keep His commandments and we flip back to Exodus and start reading them. Then we try to rewrite history and become Pharisees all over again! We look down on other Christians and tell them they aren’t doing it right. We point out their iniquities and show how well we perform communion. We wear crosses, we inject church and Christ into as many conversations as we can in order to “save” someone. We protest funerals in God’s name. WHO ARE WE???
It is not our job to judge. We are to take up His yoke for His burden is light. The Light. His Love. Why are we blind to this? Because we want to remain in control. Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m just as guilty of doing this as well.
Someone I know posted this of Facebook yesterday: “To all my Catholic bros out there, I hope this Lenten season isn’t too terrible.” Why do we punish ourselves with religion when Christ came to set us free from religion? He didn’t come to bring us rules, he came to fulfill them so we could live free! We aren’t supposed to focus on what not to do, but what we should do. Years ago the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” made its way around the world. Here’s the answer: love.
What will you do?