Are You A Bad Christian?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
(9)The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother is in the darkness until now. (10) The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (11) But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
-1 John 2:9-11 (HCSB)
Today we aren’t going to do a bunch of exposition so much as we are going to just remind you of some things.
In verse nine John says that anyone who is harboring hatred in their heart is walking in darkness anger and bitterness. The problem is that many people in the church walk around with these things and don’t even realize they harboring anything! This is unfortunate and a sad state of affairs. This comes out in people’s lashing out at others (specifically the ones they are mad at) and it rears its’ ugly head many times through gossip (This is not to say that this is the root of all gossip. Sometimes gossip is just gossip.). So what can a person do about it? Why don’t people realize they are walking around this way? Because they aren’t reflecting on God’s Word and doing self examination. These are key ingredients to a daily devotional which often get overlooked.
Verse ten is a contrast to the person walking in darkness. He uses the opposites of darkness and light to show the difference between a person that is walking in a close relationship with God as compared to the one who is merely play a role in church. Remember this is a letter that was written to Christians. We know this because he states that the person who is doing the hating is a brother. A person cannot be brother if they aren’t a Christian. This person who is walking in the healing light of the Word of God, who is constant submission to God, will not cause a brother or sister in Christ to stumble in their faith. Why? because their submission to God and walking in His light allows them to be an encouragement to others not a deterrent to other people’s faith. Too many people are a deterrent to others and cause people to leave church. This is something that can be rectified if Christians would just draw near to God (James 4:8) and do a little self-reflection.
Verse eleven is not only a reiteration of verse nine but also introduces the fact that a person who is walking through life without God is not someone you want to follow. Why? Because if they are walking in the darkness they have no idea where they are going. They deceive themselves into thinking they are walking with God and in actuality they are leading others down a different path than what God wants. People who are walking this way in the church often times become one of two types of people. (1) They become religious and legalistic. (2) They become too permissive. They make room for sin and justify their sin. Only when we walk with God are we going to walk in balance and in His will.
Where are you today? Are you walking in legalism? Are you walking in permissiveness? Are you harboring hatred? Would you know if you were because you have been reflecting on scripture and doing some “soul searching”? If you aren’t sure where you are then perhaps today is a day that you need to get down on bended knee and ask God to reveal to you where you are in Him, I mean where you truly are in Him. What will you do today? The choice is yours.