When I first read the passage below, an image of a famous scene from Good Will Hunting popped into my mind. The context of this scene is that Will played by Matt Damon picks apart Sean’s life played by Robin Williams. Will judges Sean solely based upon a picture that he painted. This brief synopsis of interpretation and theory is like a Christian who merely reads about love in the Bible. You can talk about love in theory, but without applying love, your knowledge is useless.
Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity), 1 John 3:18.
As a disciple of Jesus, John was fortunate to meet thousands of people every week. Apparently, some of these individuals talked about Jesus in theory, but their actions and behavior never changed. The expression “little children” is likely a kind way of telling his readers that they are immature and still have a long way to go. On the other hand, John could be simply using a common expression passed on by Jesus that he adopted following his ascension into heaven.
[Dear] little children, I am to be with you only a little longer. You will look for Me and, as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: you are not able to come where I am going. 34 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves], John 13:33-35.
Today, these two passages serve as a reminder from the first century church. This new command is a continuation of Matthew 22:36-40. In other words, as Christians develop and grow in their love for God, pass on this same intensity of love to your neighbors daily. The sign of any thriving church is the depth of love in the hearts of believers. Don’t just talk about love in theory. Rather, put your faith into action by showing the love of Jesus to everyone on earth.
by Jay Mankus