When you’ve known some important truth from the very beginning of a movement, you’ve essentially no excuse for not understanding it. John writes that from the beginning, we’ve heard that we ought to love one another.
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
We therefore have no reason, no justification for backbiting, backstabbing, name-calling, undermining, belittling one another. We’ve no excuse for accusations against one another especially the excuse some call “tough love.” Tough love often looks like hatred. I’ve seen it mock, name-call, belittle, dismiss, accuse, and harm too many over the years and I deny its value in “building up the church.”
Paul calls us to build, not to destroy. We are to enhance one another’s walk with Christ, not demean those walks.
We’ve heard this from the beginning. Let’s act on what we know before others turn and devour us.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Not only does Jesus command that we love our brothers but that we love our enemies. I hear a lot about ‘tough’ love, but I don’t recall Jesus ever speaking of a love that’s anything but generous.
Yes, Jesus gets angry with the moneychangers in the temple and He chastises those who would profit from the woes of others. Yes, He scolds the Pharisees whose spiritual pride is a huge stumbling block to their walk with God.
Nevertheless, Jesus tells us to go two miles with the man who would force us to go one mile. He tells us to give our coat to the man who also demands our shoes. As far as it is up to us, Jesus calls us to live in peace with everyone.