Devotion: Let our Lives Reveal the Love of Christ
June 9, 2020
God is love and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them... We love because God first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters as well. (1st John 4:16, 19-21)
Have you ever tried to hold love and hatred in your heart at the very same time? It is not possible. Now certainly we talk about love-hate relationships when our tension with others causes us to feel both extremes at different times. This is particular true for people who are in abusive relationships and for abusers. The abuser is sometimes loving to the abused and the abused one feels love for this very same person who can turn and be hateful, which is very confusing. Love and hate get mixed up, but the love of the abuser just poses as love, for the hate wins control and destroys it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In 1st John, John makes this clear to the Christian community. We can’t at one at same time claim to love God and hate those around us. This doesn’t mean that we have to like those around us or put up with harmful actions of those around us, but hate is a deep, destructive emotion that does nothing but tear others and communities apart and become toxic to ourselves. As we struggle as a nation with racial fears and hatred that have always been a part of our history, as Christians we are called upon to look at ourselves as individuals and members of the Christian community and ask how have I, how have we, contributed to the brokenness of our society through thoughts, words, or acts of hatred. We have to do this without looking to blame someone else. Sometimes we hate what we fear. We need to examine any fear underlies any hatred we may carry.
In response to deep racial tensions that have erupted over the last week and a half, the United Church Homes and Services (UCHS), which is the organization that founded and helps support Abernethy Laurels, crafted a statement as follows: Racism has no place in our communities or in any community. The United Church of Christ and UCHS were built on diversity, inclusion, and especially, kindness. Today and every day we stand together with our black team members, partners, residents, tenants, participants and the entire black community. We stand with our friends around the globe to speak out against racism, to promote understanding and to create a world that is smarter, stronger and kinder.
Any Christian of any color is called to live lives of love, from which justice naturally evolves. Let us pray that as individuals and the body of Christ we can be true to that calling.
O God of justice, help us to weed hatred out of our hearts so that our lives reveal the love of Christ. Amen.
Written by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels