“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.” 1 John 2:9-11
1 John contains some strong convictions about love. When we have any trace of hatred in our heart, we are still in darkness. Our hatred for a brother or sister keeps us blind and from loving God and others as we should. Notice verse 11: “they do not know where they are going.” Our hatred leads to blindness, which leads to losing direction! We are no longer following Christ when we harbor hatred. Loving our brothers and sisters completely is living in the light.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your heart and any areas of darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to love–especially those whom are hard to love. Clearly, hatred is not compatible at all with following Christ. We must allow any hatred to be completely uprooted from our hearts in order to walk in the light.
“Faith is not a light that scatters all our darkness, but a lamp that guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments that explain everything; rather, God’s response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness that touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. In Christ, God wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it. Christ is the one who, having endured suffering, is “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2).~Pope Francis, “Lumen Fidei”
We wish that having faith meant living in a land of sunshine and rainbows. It’s true, that God does bring joy and peace. The fact is, though, life isn’t perfect. Even though we have God at our side always, there is most definitely suffering. Yet He journeys with us through the suffering, and allows us to grow stronger through the storm. He holds our hand and keeps us moving through the blinding rain. Our faith guides our steps in the “nights” of our lives. It doesn’t mean there will be no nights. God is with us in our “story of suffering.” He brings a brighter chapter after that suffering–and He invites you and your faith to be strengthened through the agony. His Son, who endured the greatest suffering of all, perfects our faith.
We can’t understand suffering. Living Christian lives doesn’t give us the answer to “why?” But we can take hold of faith, the light that scatters the darkness. We can walk ahead, step by step, always holding the lamp of faith. That faith, and the hope that accompanies it, will give us the glimmer to journey through even the darkest of nights. It will bring us to daybreak, where we’ll behold His face, and one blessed day be able to understand and rejoice always.
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.