If anyone claims, "I am living in the light," but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. 1 John 2:9
When my sister and I argue, we do not let our anger last long. Typically, the offended person calls the offender and says the words, "Do you have something to say?" In saying this, we are offering the opportunity for an apology. This request, revealed by our tone and our willingness to call even when we are offended, shows that we desperately want to mend our relationship. We want this because we love each other. As a result, we readily forgive. I wish I could say everyone is as easy to forgive as my sister-turned-best-friend, but that is not true. Regardless of the difficulty, forgiveness born out of love is a marker of a follower of Christ.
When someone offends us, it is easy to hold onto bitterness and anger, rather than to forgive them. This, however, is not how God has called us to live. In fact, followers of Jesus are to show love. John writes in 1 John 2:9, "If anyone claims, 'I am living in the light,' but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness." You see, Christ forgave us of every sin we have ever committed that caused separation with Him, and if He can offer forgiveness to anyone who believes in Him, then we are called to show forgiveness as well.
Forgiveness does not mean that we accept the behavior of how someone has wronged us; it means that we choose love and restoration instead of harboring bitterness. It is not always easy, but it offers healing, not only for your relationship with the person who has hurt you but also for yourself. Let's make a commitment to forgive others out of love.
Who do you need to forgive today? Maybe there is someone who has wronged you who you have been angry at for a long time. Think about the person who came to mind, and make steps toward forgiveness today.
Read 1 John 2:7-11 (NLT)
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.