We love because [God] first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:19-20
Every morning I wake up next to a lovely woman who loves me. I don’t know how I came to be so blessed by God to have such a lovely and loving wife, but I thank God every day for her!
The love of a married couple is a picture of God’s love for all of us, as St. Paul illustrates in his letter to the Ephesians (see Ephesians 5).
John picks up on this theme of love in his first epistle.
I am able to love my wife and my wife love me because God first loved us. We wouldn’t know how to love if God didn’t first love us and define love for us.
It is really that simple. God is love. And we are able to love because God is love.
It is important to realize that God doesn’t just say he loves us. He says he loves us (see Hosea 3) and he shows that he loves us.
God created us. God promised to send a Savior when we – as a race – rejected him. God fulfilled his promise in Jesus Christ who was born, lived, died, rose and ascended in order to save God’s people!
God did this all out of love. And now, as God’s beloved, we are to live the same way!
Remember, however, that we can say we love God but unless we also love others, we are liars. There is no loving God without loving other people.
Just recently, there was a terrorist bombing that killed almost two dozen people. Those who are taking credit for the bombing said they did so because of their religion.
In their religion they may say they love God, but they also show that they hate certain people.
John is very clear (writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it is actually God who is making it very clear) that there is no loving God if we do not love other people as well.
In the past, even those who claimed to be Christians hated certain peoples. John convicts in this case as well. If love of God doesn’t also lead to and include love of other people, then it is not Christianity.
The glorious irony is that even when those who claim to love God but hate other people (by hurting them or even killing them) are still loved by God.
Jesus – while he was being crucified by those who hated him – said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23).
With that same love – the love of Christ within us – we can and must reach out to all people! Even if they want to kill us in response, we must love them even as we love God.
I realize that this is a tall order. And also something that most likely cannot happen overnight.
But it is my prayer that I can be brought by the Holy Spirit to this kind of love for others, even if it dangerous. I ask you to pray the same!
©2017 True Men Ministries