Thoughts for the Day

Wednesday, 24th May 2023: God's judgement

1 John 3 Judgement Love one another God Jesus

Reading : Verses from 1 John, Chapter 3


For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another......

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The writer of the First Epistle of John argues that we should 'love one another', but what does he mean? In the english language we use the word 'love' in many ways. This letter was written in Koine Greek, what we might call Common Dialect Greek, and there are at least four different words for 'love'. Put simply, Eros is sexual love; Storge is family love; Philia is brotherly friendship; and Agape is a love that gives, that does not need payment, and is a love that is so great it can give to an unlovable person. This, last, is what John means when he says we should love one another.

Real love for others will be seen in the way a life is lived - as Jesus gave up his life to save us from eternal death. However, as hard as we try to show love for others, whether in volunteering for a charity, or giving to Christian Aid, it is never enough. Ultimately we will not give our last penny to someone else, or offer our life for theirs. In the middle of the night we may wonder if trying to live a Christian life can ever be achieved and if we're condemned by God for our feeble efforts.

However, the writer of John's letter offers us hope. He says, as Thomas a Kempis once said, "Man sees the deed, but God knows the intention." We judge ourselves and others by their actions and the way they appear to the world, but God knows our intentions and our longing to do the right thing, and he knows our hopes and dreams for the future. God judges our hearts as well as our actions, and if we have within us love, however pathetic it is, then we have hope in God's promise made through Jesus Christ.


You see our weaknesses
and You see our longing to do good;
You see the mistakes we make
and our good intentions.
Forgive us our inability to really love others
particularly those whom we find difficult.
Teach us to love others as You would wish,
thinking less about ourselves
and more about their needs.

Follow Up Thoughts

This site looks at how spreading love and kindness can benefit us as well as others. It's not, I think a Christian site, but does have some good suggestions:

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