Chapter 4 of the first epistle by the Apostle John, has long been one of my favorites. Today I read it in the "The Message" for the first time. Eugene Peterson, the pastor who wrote this paraphrase of the Bible, has a way of shedding new light on many old familiar verses. So I feel the need to share it with you.
"God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry...
"There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgment--is not yet fully formed in love. We though, are going to love--love and be loved.
"First we were loved, now we love. God loved us first. If anyone boasts, 'I love God', and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see?"
It makes me very sad that the world's view of Christians is based in our finger-pointing, our antagonism, and even hatred. What ever happened to "They'll know we are Christians by our love..."?
I've been reminded recently of what happened in Germany in the 1930s. The Fascists, who thought they were "right" and were on the Far Right, used fear of Socialism to lead that country far astray. Our country needs to beware of that path. Especially Christians. For while we're looking so hard toward the Left for the appearance of the Antichrist, he may sneak up on us from the Far Right.
Remember, Satan can disguise himself as an Angel of Light. He prowls about like a lion, who silently stalks its prey.