1 John 1:5-7 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I was recently talking with one of my best friends, and whenever we get together, I know I’m going to learn something new about her through an interesting or funny story. It’s going to make me laugh or smile, and it always gives me more insight on who she is as a person. She recently began telling me about her dog, Princess, a chocolate lab, from when she was a little girl. Princess had decided to have puppies underneath the porch of the abandoned house that was on my friend’s farm. The mom and her pups were way under the house and in a dangerous position where it was extremely difficult to get to them. So, my friend decided she would pull out the pups one by one until all of them were out and safe. After she pulled them out, Princess decided that it would be a good idea to take each and everyone of those puppies one by one back under the house in the dangerous position where she had them originally. My friend risked her life going under the house only to be circumvented by Princess’ will.
Have you ever had difficult friends or family to deal with in your life? They claim to be a Christian or claim to be a good person, but they don’t walk in the light. Instead, they select a sinful path and stick with it. You feel you should save them from their path or that they should turn from their wicked ways. But, when you try to help them, they are like Princess. They walk back into the darkness where there is danger; where there is sin. Sometimes, they walk far into the darkness and sometimes they are just outside of your reach entering in the darkness. But, nevertheless, it is their will to enter the darkness no matter how you try to help them.
These friends or family members often put us in a difficult position because darkness is incompatible with light. That is, you cannot have both light and darkness, and so the walk with your friend or your family becomes more and more difficult. You know that the only way you are going to be close to them again is to get them back in the light, but when you try to bring them back; their will takes over and places them back in the darkness. You wonder what to do as you know you cannot discipline them back into God’s ways.
John is warning us what happens when we do not live out the truth. . .when our friends or our family members do not live out the truth. He is warning us to stay away from the darkness and to stay in the light “where there is no darkness.” What does this mean to our family and friends who have gone astray? Like my friend realized with Princess, it was out of her hands. Princess was going to do her own will. Since we cannot change the will of others, we must set the example, live in the light, and pray that our friends and family will come back to the light in God’s time.
How can we set the example? In Matthew 22:37-39, we read this:
37 Jesus answered:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”
If we love the Lord our God with all that we are, the second commandment becomes easier. . .we can love others as much as ourselves. Isn’t it interesting that the two greatest commandments involve love? I didn’t read anything about retribution, did you? I also didn’t read anything about denying someone love if they come back from a long time in the darkness, did you?
Only God can change hearts and only He can change the will of a person. And, while it may be difficult, it is important to keep loving God and to love others as ourselves. If it is God’s will, He will turn those friends and family members back to you, and you must love them as yourself. Be the example of the person walking in the light when they are in darkness and be there for them with open, loving arms when they come back into the light.
When Princess was ready, she brought out her puppies. My friend had patiently waited for her to come back into the light and she loved Princess without any regrets. This is how we must deal with our friends and family who have walked into darkness and have gone astray. Be patient while God works in their lives and brings them out of the darkness. Love them without limits just as you would love yourself.. .when they come back into the light, love them with all of your heart just as you would love yourself. . .without regret; just as our God loves us wholly, completely, and without regret.