1 John 3:14-18 (KJV)
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we pass from death to eternal life. It is only through Christ that we can achieve eternal life (John 14:6). When we receive that gift, we should see changes in us. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
We see some hard truths here in 1 John 3:14-18. We see that if we do not love, then we are still abiding in death. We also see that if we do not love our brothers and sisters, then it is the same as hate which is the same as murder! We know that no murderer will enter heaven (Galatians 5:19-21). Note: the Greek word used for “hate” has the connotation of a lifestyle of hate–in other words, the sinner is not repentive.
Verse 17 go on to explain one way we do not show love.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
We are to help those in need if we have the means to do so. I do, however, believe we need to think about the true definition of help. Of course, if they have the physical need of food, we should give them food, but we also need to look at the why. Did they just have a bad time of something or could their continued problem be helped with learning better budgeting, frugal cooking ,gardening, etc. Truly helping them would be helping them learn how to fix the problem long term. It’s like the old adage:
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
We need to show our love, Christ’s love, for others by helping those in need. We aren’t just supposed to sit around and talk about Christ’s love, but to go out and live it.
Everyone is capable of helping. You don’t have to be rich yourself to help. You could share of your meager amount of food. You could share knowledge and expertise. You could share your physical strength. You could just lend a helping hand. There is always some way you can help another.
Dear Lord, Open our eyes to those in need and show how to truly help them. Grant us wisdom in what we can do to help them long term if that need is there and to know what we have to offer others.