For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 John 3, verse 11.
Not long ago I watched a riveting movie: “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” It’s a movie about the Holocaust, so, no, don’t expect a happy ending. Murdering millions of people is shocking enough. What I found most shocking, though, was how seemingly rational, ‘normal’ people could willingly turn their backs while their neighbors murdered their neighbors. The German soldiers portrayed in the movie were just doing their duty, and their duty just happened to be murdering Jews and other ‘undesirable animals.’ I can’t think of any better example to contrast verse 11.
But then I think about things in our own time. If you’re reading this, you were alive during the massacres in Rwanda. Most of 1 million Hutu and Tutsi Rwandans murdered each other in the 1990s. Surely that is a work of free choice through the devil, yet what did you or I do to help in some way when we found out? And just yesterday there were reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria. Just under 100 years ago, millions died on the Western Front because of chemical weapons. Have those who may have used them this week not heard of that?
Or is it that they’ve never read verse 11. And what have we done about it?
Man’s capacity to be inhuman is never ending; the depths of our depravity can’t be plumbed. It’s the reason why Christ came here: to save us from ourselves. Without His outside intervention, like the Gambler, the best that you could hope for is to die in your sleep. You don’t have to go far to find inhumanity. Look in every school, where you see some kids being bullied while others stand idle (and teachers as well). Look in families where we harbor unnatural grudges against each other. Look in the mirror when you put on your game face today and tell me that it isn’t all about you.
Or me. I’m as guilty as the worst. I’m guilty of not loving my brothers and sisters as Jesus loves me. When I’m like that, I’m a ripe field for Satan to sow seeds of disaster.
Jesus died for our sins: this is the most important concept in all Scripture (even in all civilization). There is no other thought, idea or lesson in all of the human experience that is more important than this. Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for our sins is the ultimate expression of brotherly love. It’s the model for how we should love. And it’s the antidote to terrifying, sinful things like the Nazis, Rwanda and our suburban apathetic antipathy toward all things of God.
Lord, I praise you for your selfless love, and thank you for dying for me. Help me to love others as You would have me love them.