Whoever says, ‘I am in the light,’ while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9)
Hatred is often considered as a natural response to our enemies – people who offend us, harm us or act as obstacles to our well-being and progress in life. Hatred begins with anger which then festers into a feeling of pain. When anger is never quelled and the bitterness it evokes is left unforgiven, the result is hatred. As natural as hatred may seem, St. John teaches us today that hatred is blindness.
To hate a person is to write off the person. It is closing your eyes from all the good the person was in the past or could be in the future. To hate a person is to reach a conclusion about a person which is different from the way God sees the person.
No matter how bad we are or the number of bad things we do, God never hates us. Like the prodigal Father, God continues to wait for our return and repentance. The only way we can claim to be like God is to free our hearts from any form of hatred.
Is there someone you hate? Hold on to his or her image and allow these words to ring a bell in your heart: “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still… he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
Just as one cannot walk far in the night when it is dark, we cannot go far in life with hatred in our hearts. The person you hate right now may be your saving grace tomorrow. This world is a small place, smaller than you can even imagine.
Hatred is a sign of unforgiveness and a betrayal of our Christianity because as John says in today’s first reading: “He who says “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him… By this we may be sure that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
What did Jesus command? To love our enemies. How did Jesus walk? He forgave his killers right on the cross. How are we to know we are in Christ Jesus? By loving and forgiving others.
In today’s Gospel passage, the baby Jesus is presented in the temple. So many people speak well of Jesus. Simeon says something to Mary about the child Jesus that a sword will pierce through her soul. This was a prophecy of the pain Mary would go through thirty-three years later when she watched her son condemned, scourged, and crucified before her eyes.
Despite all that happened, Mary found space in her heart to forgive hence her many apparitions to mankind. Imagine a world where no one ever forgives and each person is carrying hatred about and I give you a picture of hell fire. Love, don’t hate.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, open my heart to love my neighbour as myself. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 John 2:3-11, Ps. 96:1-3,5-6, Luke 2:22-35)*
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu