Key Text: 2 John 1-6
The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
John says it isn’t a new commandment and, most important, he says it isn’t optional.
What is he talking about?
He is talking about loving.
It is tragic that for the thousands of years that have passed since John first wrote about it, religion has divided as much, if not more, than united people. So many churches built and so many destroyed; so many heresy trials and witch hunts; so many wars fought over this particular religious doctrine or another.
Am I opposed to organized religion? Not at all – it has been a big part of my life’s calling.
Do I hold dear some doctrinal beliefs that others find to be incorrect, even offensive? Probably.
Even so, am I opposed to any belief being the reason for people treating each other in ways that Christ would find appalling? You bet I am opposed to that.
“This is love, “John writes, “that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
We might argue all day long about what actually constitutes “loving” someone as Christ would have us love them but I would argue one thing is painfully clear.
Whether or not to love them isn’t optional. It’s a command.
Break it at your own risk.