People of Character

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 (NIV)

We called her our hurricane baby. She came to our house several hours before a hurricane hit, simply because the shelter for foster children was overloaded with kids. She was two years old—with the appetite of a teenager and a twinkle in her eye. We told friends that with her in our home, we had a hurricane inside our house as well as outside. 

Within a short time of her arrival, she was calling me Mom. My own children were so touched by this. They thought she wanted me to be her mom. I explained to them that we were her third foster home, and she had just figured out the system. In every home there was a “mom,” and in our home, it was me. There was no feeling attached to the word; it was simply my name.

I believe many people do this with God. They’ve figured out the system. They call Jesus their Savior, but there is no personal relationship attached to it. They know all the right answers to all the right questions—and they even attend church, but their relationship with God has become routine. Somehow the knowledge of Jesus is in their heads, but their hearts have gone cold. 

As we consider this verse that says you can’t live in the light and hate your brother, it gives us pause to consider our heart. Am I living in the light? Have I allowed bitterness to creep into the hard relationships in my life? Have I stopped being curious about the things of God? Do I think I have it all figured out? Am I convicted when my words and attitudes reflect the true motives of entitlement that invade my mind? Do I hear the word “I” coming out of my mouth more than the words “we” or “you”? 

Let’s be people who don’t just say that we live in the light, but let’s be people who truly live there. A praying, forgiving, loving kind of people who strive hard to follow after God.

DIG: As you consider this verse, ask the Lord to reveal whether there is darkness in your heart.

DISCOVER: Find a book, a friend, or a podcast that could help you move from the darkness to the light.

DO: Live in the light and know that God is faithful.