Do not be like Cain who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised my brothers, if the world hates you.
1 John 3.12-13
Love and hate are polar opposites and are as incompatible as light and darkness. We all understand that light and darkness cannot coexist for once the light comes the darkness goes. However we may not be so clear that this is the same relationship that love has with hate. They cannot exist together!
So in v.11 John reminds his readers of the message, heard from the beginning is that ‘We should love one another’ and then to drive it home he turns to the tragic account of Cain and Able which demonstrates the devastating impact of the fall.
Cain murdered his brother because ‘his own actions were evil’.
Matthew Henry notes that Cain ‘was as the first born of the serpent’s seed; was of the wicked one. He imitated and resembled the first wicked one , the devil. His ill-will had no restraint; it proceeded so far as to accomplish murder.’
As John uses Cain as an illustration it should cause us to ask ourselves how well we understand love. Have we consciously, or unconsciously absorbed the world’s understanding of love rather than the teaching of God’s word? Do we grasp just how different they are? So much so that John has to write ‘Do not be surprised my brothers, if the world hates you.’
Do we love like that? That our lives and loving as God’s people is such that the world, under its ruler, the evil one, responds with hatred.
Brothers and sisters we are called to a Christlike love that condemns the world but that can change the world as the world sees Christ in us and sees real love.