Based on Biblical Text:1 John 3:18:
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
God speaking through the “love” disciple John, says to us, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue: but in deed and in truth.” Because John is so loving, his recorded words ring so sweet.
What John is trying to teach us is really quite simple. He admonishes us that if we say we have truly been transformed by the blood of Christ, the evidence of our transformation should manifest itself in the way we treat our brothers and sisters. In other words, our transformed life ought to be a clear demonstration of love and compassion.
God has challenged us from the very beginning to, “love one another.” However, the truth of the matter is many times we find the untransformed attitude still prevalent. We are quick to judge, quick to condemn and even quicker it seems sometimes not to forgive. It appears that in too many instances we exhibit, “I am not my brother’s keeper!” What should be a continuous and spontaneous love for each other sometimes appears not continuous and not so spontaneous. The love that identifies us as Christian needs to be pulled out of us as we have to be reminded constantly that we should be putting the feelings of others ahead of our own.
God loves us in spite of our faults. Knowing we are loved ought to make us more loving. What John is trying to get us to understand is the concept of agape love. In other words, the unconditional love that God has for us is the same love we ought to express toward each other. Yes, it is a love that goes against our carnal nature, which compels us to love only those who love us. In fact, it is the kind of love that says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who despitefully use you”.
We are called to express agape love in our most challenging and even most disagreeing moments. In these instances, we are encouraged to show an extra ounce of patience sometimes speaking less and listening and loving more. Agape love calls us to a point when we, in our sacrificial moments, might share more. Or in our vengeful moments, when we have the power to retaliate, agape love challenges us not to use it.
We will not know agape love unless we also know how to forgive. Agape love and forgiveness have to go together. The older saints remind us that it is near impossible to live in this world without getting bitten by one of Satan’s snakes. They warn us that “Hellhounds” are everywhere, riding the backs of the saved and the unsaved. The truth is if we are unable to return hate with love, we will soon find ourselves little more than a bitter wretch of a man or woman. I think we would rather be known for displaying the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith. We would rather be like Christ!
In our text we find John masterfully unraveling the truth of our salvation. John reminds us that the magnificent God we serve expressed His love for us through the gift of Jesus Christ. He admonishes us that we are to respond to that love by loving others. Later on we find John expressing it in another way saying to us, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
We must come to understand that God is not happy when a person claims to be a Christian, but is un-loving. The text puts us on notice that salvation and hatred do not mix. We cannot love Christ and hate our brother.
In other words, if we make a claim we should back it up. God lets us know that it does no good just to tell Him we love Him; we should show Him. Truly, actions speak louder than words. Don’t try to tell God we are a Christian. Show Him! A Christian is validated by the quality of their character.
The questions for us to ponder are simple. How do we handle life’s abuses? Are we forgiving? Are we patient? Are we considerate of other’s feelings? Can the Lord depend on us to hold our tongue and express His love in deed and truth? Are we a true Christian?
If we say we have truly been transformed by the blood of Christ, the evidence of our transformation should manifest itself. Christ has forgiven us; we should surely forgive others. Christ has shown us mercy, we should in turn show it to others. God has been patient with us the evidence of our transformation is that we are patient with others. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others.