1 John 2:9 (Amplified Bible) "Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now."
Many times the Bible uses the word brother to mean a fellow Christian rather than a blood related brother. I think John does this maybe more often than the other disciples. This in itself intrigues me, but for now I'll just give you some thoughts you might like to keep on the back burner of your mind.
- To love my brothers and sisters (in Christ) means that I forgive them when they hurt me. If they don't realize that they have hurt me, I let them know (without lashing out). There have been times in my life when I have said or done something to another believer without knowing that it wounded him or her. Not much is worse than having someone suddenly turn her back on you and then refuse to tell you what you did. I can't say I'm sorry, and mean it, if I don't even know I've done something wrong. This is why prayers of repentance are meaningless until the sinner comes to full realization of his or her sins and the need for forgiveness.
- To love my brothers and sisters (in Christ) means that I might have to confront them about something that is causing them to stumble. This is that "tough love" that is so popular to talk about but not so popular to put into practice. If I truly love another believer, I will not stand idly by while he "falls from grace." (Galatians 5:4)
- To love my brothers and sisters (in Christ) means that I take the time to show it. I spend time with other believers and I stand up for them when they are maligned. I do not stand by while someone else belittles a born again Christian.
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8 (Amplified Bible)