"He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
1 John 2:9-11
I think that this is a really good example of how we blind ourselves sometimes. We can be praying, reading our scriptures... attending church... and think that we are doing pretty well. And maybe we love people a lot… the people in our families, the people we go to church with… the people that agree with us about things. :) And maybe some of those “other” people really annoy us. Maybe they aren’t from our country, or race, or religion… maybe they are sinning in a way that we would never be tempted to sin. Maybe they just don’t agree with us about this or that political issue. Whoever “they” are, and whatever their actions or our beliefs about them, if we have hatred in our hearts, then we're really sabotaging our own efforts to walk in the light. And, really... we aren't seeing reality. If we could see into the souls of the people we dislike, do you think that any of them would be unlovable? Every person on this earth has something good inside. Something good to offer. And everyone (even us) has something bad inside too... something they need to clean out of themselves. If we focus on the bad parts, then we'll never have good relationships with anyone we place in that “other” category. If we focus on the good parts, then we can learn from anyone, and help them as well. Today, maybe we can catch ourselves when we’re saying anything negative about anyone, and try to remember that even THAT person, in whatever group or country, is worth something to God. We’re brothers and sisters… even with that person we can’t stand, or that group we’re fighting against philosophically. We're all in this together... this test of life. If we help each other, maybe we'll do better on the test then we could do individually. And... maybe it is *part* of the test. :) So, let’s not darken ourselves with hatred, and stumble... but see clearly in the light of love.