1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. . . .

  9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.  (NIV)

If the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind” and the second, “love your neighbor as yourself” is its partner, then the greatest sin is to hate and turn away from the Lord who is God and its partner is to hate your neighbor / brother / sister.  It’s not the unforgivable sin – Jesus pleads for us in the presence of the Father as our Advocate, and the Father is faithful and just and will forgive even this sin – but for us who are the children of God and walking in His light it is the sin that colors and darkens everything we do.

But I confess, my brother, that it is entirely my fault, my sin, that I do not love you as Jesus would love you.  I am not willing to give you the time of day sometimes, my sister, much less my entire life, and that is entirely my sin.  There is no sin in you that Jesus has not forgiven and no failure of yours that He does not take to the Father’s throne for overflowing mercy and grace, but there are times when I feel uncomfortable around you.  That is my darkness, not yours.  If I am to walk and live in the true light of Jesus, I must recognize my own darkness so that I can turn from it and reach out my arms of compassion to you.

And will you take me up on the offer of the compassionate embrace?  That’s your decision, one which I dare not influence in any way except to extend the invitation.  The only loving thing I can do for you is to put away my darkness and extend the hand of love, hoping that someday you will take it in yours.

God bless us everyone!