This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:11-17 [NLT]
The devil’s deceit is to confuse good and evil. He leads people to false conclusions about someone else’s motives, values, beliefs, or actions. He inspires others to accuse falsely, cause doubt, or feign righteousness. He triggers anger and bitterness by any means. Whenever you hear accusations, or confusion over good and evil, or inciting of violence, you know the devil is at work. From the earliest times this has been the devil’s motive. We should not be surprised when the devil does his thing against us, inciting hatred, bigotry, or violence toward us.
From the earliest times God’s desire is for us to serve and love one another. He made a helper for Adam. Their children were a gift for them to further God’s command to subdue the earth. The first recorded death is not a natural death, but a murder; a sad witness to the incursion of evil and the reign of death over sinful mankind. Whenever we harbor hatred in our hearts we give testimony to sin’s presence and death’s reign in the world.
Thanks be to God, we have been redeemed. For Jesus inspires love for brother and sister. Jesus’ influence is toward life. Jesus moves us to compassion for those in need. Jesus’ example is self-sacrificial love. Any time we are moved toward mercy, kindness, and love we show that Jesus’ love is in us. This is God’s desire for us from the beginning. This moved him to redeem us through Jesus’ sacrificial death.
This is so urgent that John will make this point throughout this entire letter. The conditions in the churches and communities of his day must have made this vitally important. I’m wondering if we’re any different today. I know God’s call for us to love our neighbor remains the same.