Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
How do Christians love one another? 1 John 3:16-24 is quite specific. We love people not only in word but also in deed. If we see a Christian brother or sister suffering for lack of something we have and can share, then we share it.
This passage can condemn all of us in many ways. Yes, we’re almost always ready to skip loving one another in words. We seem awfully good at having harsh words for others, condemning attitudes toward others, and pursuing our desire to have things our way. When God makes demands in the Law, very specific demands at that, we like to minimize them. We may often confuse pointing others to God’s demands for their good with simply attacking people. We’re almost always ready to run someone else down, just in case he needs it.
The love of Jesus should rather compel us to care for others. We love because he first loved us. We give because he gave. We serve because he came to be the servant of all.
How about our failures? There are always plenty of people around us willing to point those out. If you can’t find anyone who is ready to criticize you unfairly, let me know. I’ll refer someone to you. It’s no problem, really. But what are we going to do about it? Thanks be to God that this reading is the continuation of the same letter in which John told us that when we confess our sins God in Christ forgives them. He is the one who confronts us with our sin and failing so as to bring us to repentance and work forgiveness in us. That’s godly confrontation. It’s restorative.
Our prayer, then, is that we may be instruments of God’s restoration as we care for one another. It’s a really nice picture. Maybe we can get a glimpse of it now and then.
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