9 July 2018

Welcome to Monday’s Podcast. My name is Tom Finnemore and I’ll be sharing a daily podcast with you each day.

REFLECTION:

Our reading today is 1 John 2: 7-14 but I’m going to focus on verse 9
‘Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness…’

Do listen to the whole Bible reading at the end of the Podcast.

Last week my colleague Helen completed Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica and kicked off our journey through John’s letter to the churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).

Let me ask you a question? How’s your love life? Yes, you heard me correctly!

Go, on – how’s your love life? I’m going to be asking us throughout the week!

Why am I asking?

Put very crudely, one of the main facets of John’s message is to remind Christians that they are called to a life of love.

The type of love John is talking about here is Agape love. There are four words for love in the original language of the New Testament. Agape love means to love selflessly and sacrificially. In the Bible it’s the highest form of love. The Bible uses it to describe God’s love for us. But, this is the challenge, we’re called to love others like this: we are called to love sacrificially and selflessly.

So, I ask you once again: how’s your love life?

While you’re reflecting, let me tell you a story.

A few weeks back I took our car to get something fixed. Pretty routine – nothing out of the ordinary. While the car was in the garage, I got a text message from them. I opened it to find a short video of a man standing underneath our car which was raised on some kind of ramp. He checked all the tyres: measured the tread. The mechanic gave a running commentary and shone his light on bits of the underneath of the car – only clearly seen on the ramp. He checked the brakes, fuel line and exhaust – it was a free health check designed to flag any potential issues.

Today’s Bible passage from John are a bit like that mechanic’s torch shining his light into our lives. It’s like a spiritual ‘health check’. Checking the parts of our lives that are hidden from others. John is very clear: ‘anyone claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in darkness…’

So, in other words, do we have an ‘intense dislike for’ somebody? Is there hatred? Is there bitterness towards someone in our hearts?

How is my love life? Really? Honestly?

We’re human. I’m human. You’re human. We live and work with other humans. And because we’re human we rub up against each people. We can annoy each other. Misunderstand each other. We hurt each other or let each other down. It’s part of life. As my parents used to say – ‘it’s part of being human’.

But John’s challenge is that we have to deal with it. It’s not OK for Christians to live with hatred and bitterness in our hearts.

Someone once said “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

John is reminding the communities he’s writing to that there’s a better way to live: we are to put love into practice.

We all get hurt. It’s how we deal with hurt that matters.

How to do that – you simply let the light in. How do you do that?

1) Pray about it. Let God into the situation. Be honest and open. Pray about the person who has hurt you.
2) Ask for God’s forgiveness for your part in the situation. Ask for his help.
3) Tell someone you trust. Let someone else into the situation. This brings the light flooding into your life. Ask them to pray. Ask them for advice or help.

So, as we do battle with Monday and all its blessings and challenges – let’s ask God to reveal to us something about our love lives…

PRAYER

Lord we pray the ancient prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Search our hearts Lord, and show us if there’s anything that needs dealing with. May we bring it to you!

Amen

READING: 1 John 2:7-14

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.