We live in a Star Wars world with lots of talk about light and darkness. But God is not merely some cosmic “force” with a few basic principals. No, He is a being who governs His creation according to the instructions He gives.
These verses associate light with love and darkness with hate. And that may sound like Yoda on the surface, but when we connect it to the larger context of all that the Bible teaches, we find ourselves face to face with our sinfulness and our need for a savior.
Many people don’t realize this, but the command to “love your neighbor” was not new when Jesus gave it to his disciples. That command is in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 19. Jesus is simply highlighting it in the New Testament as the second greatest command, and then making sure that we understand who it applies to (see: The Good Samaritan).
So this call to love is not a New Testament idea, but an Old Testament idea. It comes from the Law – and there is our important distinction from any “Star Wars” idea of God. “The Force” in Star Wars doesn’t give laws. It is impersonal and ambiguous. But God is very personal, speaking to the very heart of who we are and showing us our weaknesses.
We will only see Jesus for the treasure that He is if we see our sin for the tragedy that it is.
And do you notice how John warns us about hypocrisy again in verse 9 – that we should be careful not to say that we walk in the light if we have hatred for our brother? All of these warnings of hypocrisy are meant to remind us that we have this incredible ability to THINK we are better than we really are!
And if we make that mistake – thinking we are good, while walking in darkness and hatred – verse 11 kicks in. We are blind to the crisis of our soul, and as lost as we can be.
The solution? Observe the first command (Love God) by obeying the second command (Love Neighbor), and we will walk in the light.