I’ve noticed that people will sometimes talk about someone being a Christian and being a nice person as if these two things essentially mean the same thing. But the words of John are clear: if we want to truly be followers of Christ, we must walk as Jesus did. We are called to obey his teachings and to be a light in other people’s lives as we act in service to them, the way Jesus did and does for us.
It’s easy to think about that when we are with those we love or care about and want to please. But what about applying it to the co-worker we clash with, the person at the grocery store who cuts in front of us, or the person who dominates a conversation with their opinions?
Yes, we are called to represent Jesus to those people and, indeed, to all people we come across. This intense, unrelenting love is to be the foremost identifying mark of Christians.
Thankfully, God never leaves us to work this out on our own. As verses 12-14 indicate, God is with us in all our stages, helping us overcome evil with good.
Precious Lord, take my hand, guide my steps, teach me to love all people as you do. Amen. — DLG