Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Called to Love like Jesus Christ loves you

Stumbling in the Darkness

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 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.” ~1 John 2:9-11 (NIV)

I always inwardly shake my head in dismay when someone says “Follow your heart” or posts a Facebook meme with the same sort of sentiment. The intent is harmless enough. We want to encourage those around us to feel fulfilled by their work and their creative pursuits, but the simple fact is that our hearts are desperately wicked. Our hearts don’t always know the right way to go. Even those of us saved by Grace are still burdened by hearts prone to want all the wrong things. We long for earthly treasures: notoriety, power, adoration.

Our hearts are prone to hate as well. Much as I’d like to think that I am far enough along the path of Redemption that I no longer feel hatred for a fellow human, these past few years have been a challenge. In the United States we’ve all been tempted by various factions and forces to turn on each other. There are some dark dealings going on in the world, social media in particular, sewing seeds of discord and reaping harvests of hate.

For Christians hate is off the table. We don’t get to hate people. We aren’t permitted to hate those that hate God. No matter how wretched the human, we’re still called to love them. In fact when people talk about “tough love” I think the term should mean this instead - the call to love someone who hates you. This political and social climate is full of hate and it’s incredibly hard to keep it at bay. When I’m challenged, I remember the verse above. Hate blinds us, leads us away from the light of God.

Hate surrounds our souls in darkness. It isn’t content to stay in one spot either. It spreads. Confine your hate to a political party and you’ll find your feelings begin to sour towards friends who support them. Hate an actor and the neighbor who goes on and on about their movies will soon get on your nerves. Simple dislike turns into real enmity and before you know it, you’ve got a list of people you’ve blocked on Facebook, cut out of your life, written off entirely.

While there is nothing wrong with creating distance between yourself and a toxic person, letting hate build toward them is definitely wrong. It doesn’t matter if they’re awful, you still don’t get to hate them. It’s time we all start examining our hearts and shining a light on all the dark corners. Let’s be convicted and root out the sin of hate. What an amazing light would shine if all of the Church did this in what is a truly dark time! Then people would truly know us by our love.

Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world; love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at


  1. Thank you for this message. Built up hate can cause many problems. There are times when removing hateful feelings can be a process. I am thankful God is with us every step of the way.


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