It happens all the time. And the older I get, the more it happens. And I‘m not even sure I understand why, because I don’t see it at all. I don’t hear it either.
Let me back up. I have three older brothers whom I love very much. But we are very different. This is mainly due to them being so much older than me. My closest brother is nine years older than I am. By the time I was 10 years old, they were married, in college, or in law school. They were gone. I’m so different from them in so many ways that their jokes about me being adopted sometimes ring true.
But here is an example of what happens all the time. I was at work one day at the bank, sitting there talking with a customer. We had been talking for a while when this lady stopped and looked at me with that look:
“No, I am not the singer.”
“No, you must be related to the Redmond boys. Are you the youngest one named ‘Matt?’”
“I am. Bobby, Wes, and Jeff are my big brothers.”
And then they go on to tell me how much they love my parents. I have had that conversation about a thousand times since moving back home 7 years ago. What gives me away as a Redmond?
“All you Redmond boys sound and look like your dad.” I can’t hear it or see it, but I guess it’s the truth.
What is amazing to me about this passage in 1 John is not the force with which John says we should love those who are part of the faith, but that our love for each other is the mark of our faith. You cannot escape this logic. Our love for one another is the dead giveaway of whose children we are.
In the Church, we often assume that as long as you are staying away from bad things and doing these other good things, you are surely a Christian. But John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes it clear that love for each other is the defining mark of being children of God.
And why shouldn’t it be? We have the same hope, the same future, the same sin problem we were saved from. We have the same “Brother” who went to the cross on our behalf so that we could truly be adopted into the family. And we have the same heavenly Father now.
Even with all our differences, how could we not love each other when we remember all this?
Written By Matthew B. Redmond