Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness. 1 John 2:1-11
Over the past few days, as we have gathered at Wintertalk, we have heard stories of the challenges many of our elders and friends have lived with from childhood. Many people gathered here were sent to an Indian boarding school where they had their language and identity taken from them. Their stories are heartbreaking and hard to take in. Lovely, sweet children, far from home and isolated from the warmth and nurture of family. The light of God seemed far from these places.
The writer reminds us that we are all little children, subject to the mistakes and failures of all human beings. But the good news is that we are all children of God, all of us, no matter what people might say or think of us. We are given the commandment of love. We are to love God and love others. There is nothing that can remove us from the family of God, and no one can keep us from the love of God, which is our in abundance every day.
Today I ask God to help me live humbly and forgive all those who might lead others astray. May our focus be on the love of God demonstrated as we love our neighbors and welcome all just as they are, May we see the love of God in the face of all, friends and strangers alike, today.