Read. 1 John 3:15-21
15 Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that murderers don’t have eternal life residing in them. 16 This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but refuses to help—how can the love of God dwell in a person like that?
18 Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. 19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence. 20 Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence in relationship to God.
Reflect. John began this passage by echoing what Jesus taught: that feelings and words of hatred toward others are a form of murder (cf. Matthew 5:21-22). Jesus didn’t seek to kill his foes— he laid down his life for them. But then John extended the principle to the words so many of us speak against ourselves (“even if our hearts condemn us”). Those words, too, can kill our spirit, and there, too, God’s mercy is the answer (“God is greater than our hearts”).
• What are the kinds of mistakes or habits that most often trigger self-criticism in you? When you are speaking negative, critical words about yourself, do you find them to be “useful for building up”? Do they “give grace” to you as you listen to your own critical thoughts or words? What better ways have you found to correct and build yourself up than being harshly self-critical?
• Pastors or counselors fairly often hear a person say, “God may forgive me for that,
but I can never forgive myself.” Christian counselor Bruce Narramore, in his book
No Condemnation, noted that if we say that, we seem to think we have higher standards for ourselves than God does! How can you more fully internalize the reality that “God is greater than our hearts,” that you can trust God’s forgiveness more than your own self- condemning feelings?
Pray. Loving God, help not only the words I speak to others, but also the words I speak internally to myself, to be acceptable to you, and in harmony with your gracious words. Amen.
COMMUNITY PRAYER LIST
Doug Lawson. Collier. Glenn Ethridge. Adam Funderburk. Mary Reber. Linda Harmon. Betty Carolyn Ward. Albert Rasanke. Lois Robinson. Ross Henley. Tiny & Donald Creasman. Bill and Barbara Buchanan. Bonnie Brenner. Baker Family. Robert McKenzie Family. Kibler family. Carolyn Harlow. Jeff Green. Earl Graves. Mickey Huff. Huff & Welch families. Helen Leigh. Paul Huffman. Schools, Teachers, Staff, Parents, Students. Church regathering plans. Layman family. Charlene Withrow. Brandon Casteel. Dirk Orr family. Smith family. Crowder family. Lillard family. Family of Floyd Eaton. Family of Eddie Rynes. Robertson Family. Harmon Family. Nancy Ryan & family. Bobby Roberts. Elizabeth May & family. Melvin Rinehart. Susan Rogers. Brandon Haugh. Sonny Bulloch. Bobby and Joyce Reed. Jerry Plaster. Julie.
Our current teaching series, The Power of Words, was adapted from a series developed by our partners at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and used with permission. Many of the resources and graphics are provided by our partners. During this series, our Read.Reflect.Pray. guide publishes the daily devotional guide (called Grow, Pray, Study) from our partners with minor adaptation.