Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning. (1 Jn 3:7-8a)
If you want to know who a person truly is, do not listen to what the person has to say. Rather, watch what the person does. If the person is honest and honorable, that person will do honest and honorable deeds. If the person is dishonest and dishonorable, you can expect nothing good to come about.
That was the lesson that St. John was trying to teach the early Christian community. He was doing so for two reasons. First, he wanted the community to watch out for others who might be out to destroy them. Christians, after all, were suspect and many wanted to do away with them.
Secondly, John wanted to remind the Christians how to live. They could not claim to be followers of Jesus if they engaged in their former ways of sin. Their actions would betray them even as they claimed to be someone they were not.
Too many people in this world claim to be one thing and turn out to be quite different. Our actions need to match our words.
We claim to be Christian. We claim to believe that Jesus has blessed us and called us. We claim to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and set us free from sin and death. If that is the case, we need to live as His committed followers rather than as followers of this world which is so thoroughly steeped in sin.
We continue our Christmas season. Let us live in Christmas peace and joy.
FAITH ACTION: Take some time to reflect upon your actions of the past several days. Are they reflecting the fact that you are a Christian? If not, it is time to change your ways.