Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:7-11)
The commandment to Love one another, is both new and old . All of the commandments of God from the very beginning can be summed up in this way, “Love God supremely, and love one another equally”. This is the summation of all of the law of God.
In this sense the commandment is old, it is the one original commandment. Had our first parents remained in love with God and with each other, they would never have broken away from God to seek their own way. Love is the fulfilling of all law.
But in a sense the Commandment is new. How could an old commandment be a new commandment?
Ever since the incarnation of God the Son, the true light, the only man who truly loved God and his neighbor in the way God intended for all of us, we see clearly what the Commandment looks like in practice. In the life of Jesus, the light of Love for God and man is now shining. Formerly we were told to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves, but now the commandment is modified, “Love one another as I have loved you” saith the LORD.
We see clearly in Jesus, what it means for a man to love God with all of his being. In Jesus also, the light shines on the love we should have for our fellow human beings.
Love is light, to love is to walk and remain in the light of God. To depart from love is to go back into darkness.
People in darkness do not know what it is that they stumble over, constantly. Hatred deprives us of light, it blinds us, especially to our own self destructive aspects. People think that they have the right and power to hate others, and to diminish them, or lie about them, refuse to forgive them, or in some other way to kill them; they don’t realize that hatred itself carries the seeds of self destruction.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
What is Love? To love your neighbor or brother, is to seek the good of the other, it is a commitment and not a feeling. Love couldn’t be a feeling for it is the commandment of God himself. One cannot command a feeling. We are commanded to seek each other’s good, as far as possible.
What is hate? Merriam Webster says Hatred is , “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury” It is the commitment to self at the expense of all else. To hate is to ever be on the alert for any slight, any insult or disrespect, and it is the zeal to ever protect the self or to repay in kind or even worse any whom you perceive as getting in the way of self.
Hatred is also to impute the worst motives, or to hold someone on the worst possible shade, to bear false witness, to diminish, or to be willing to hurt another, to wish them harm or to fear them, or delight in their diminishment.
A person is in darkness, spiritual darkness, to the extent that they allow hatred into their heart. “They know not at what they stumble”. Ultimately hatred is murder, according to Jesus.
But love is the way back into the light. When we love we no longer fear, self is not central anymore, and we can seek the good of the other, because we have gotten ourselves off of our own hands. Forgiveness, and the use of the power to do good and to bless even our enemies are the tools and weapons of spiritual warfare in dealing with people in this sin sick world of hate and ready offense.
We have been the recipients of LOVE which surpasses understanding. We can afford to love and forgive others in return. What we cannot afford is unforgiveness, offense, strife, vengeance, and hatred. Such things cost more than one Christian their sight.
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:14-15)