“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”1 John 3:11-15 NLT
The love of our brothers and sisters in Christ is directly connected by John to an issue that exposes allegiance. We are to love as Christ loved, and when we don’t, it is because of a lack of Christ in our lives. The implication is that Christians might not simply ought to love each other, but that they must. It is innate to our programming. John makes an interesting comparison to Cain and Abel. The issue of Abel’s murder, to John, is an issue of allegiance and demonstrating them. Cain’s allegiance led him to kill. His unrighteousness had a natural outcome. For Christians, the converse is true. To love, self-sacrificially isn’t a choice, it’s an indicator. Whereas love of God and man creates life, love of our own ways and our own selves creates death. We must choose our allegiances. We must do this wisely. Within them is a potential that is imminent. For humans this is pervasive. True loving relationships are only one step away. Conversely, murder and treachery are knocking as well.