Currently, the idea of hate versus love seems to be taking its place front and center in our country. Protests, riots, looting, speeches, and legislation – all happening on a scale we haven’t seen in decades. In the middle of all the voices, and all the opinions, what is the opinion of the One who truly matters? The Bible tells us in I John 4 that God is love, so what does He have to say?
I John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
The Bible reminds us that God Himself is love. Everything that He has done or will do comes out of His love towards His creation. This could be both blessing or judgement, but it is all done out of His perfect love. In fact, we’re told in John 3:16 that He loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for the whole world. I’d like to focus here on the idea of the “whole world,” because God didn’t show love towards one group of people and not another. He showed His love in sending His Son to the entire world. This goes with Acts 10:34 (and many other verses) that tell us God shows no partiality.
John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
This verse takes our relationship from what we looked at in I John 4:8 that tells us God is love, and turns it from our relationship with God, to our relationship with man. God tells us that we are to love. Notice that there is no qualifier to who we love, just that we are to love one another. It doesn’t matter if we agree with their lifestyle or beliefs, we are to still love them. The verse says, to paraphrase, love as I loved you, and when God showed His love in sending His son, He did so knowing that we as mankind were going to put Him to death. He had every reason not to love us, yet He still did.
Our love, as we see in verse 35 of John 13, is a sign to this world that we are disciples of Christ. It’s the idea of a “living Gospel” in that while we may never have the actual opportunity to share what we believe with everyone we come by, they will still have the knowledge of who we serve because of the way we love them. Since we have been showed love when we didn’t deserve it, it’s now what we are called to do.
I John 3:16 – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
This verse has a couple of meanings to it. One, it’s a reminder that Christ physically laid down his life for us to bring us forgiveness of sins, but it also shows how Christ moved his personal desires to the side for the will of God in loving others (Matthew 26:39). God tells us here to do the same thing. We are to lay down our personal desires, wants, and goals at times to show the love of Christ to others in need of it. Showing this love could take the form of spiritually, financially, physically, etc. We see this in John 15:13 as well.
I Thessalonians 3:12 – And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.
This is an interesting thought that we can take away from I Thessalonians. Just like we can go to God for wisdom if we need it (James 1:5), we can go to God for the love we need. God never says loving is easy, in fact many times it’s one of the hardest things we can do. Love is not a feeling, it is a choice, and it’s not always the easiest choice we can make to love someone that may appear to be unlovable. Nevertheless, it’s what we are called to do. If you find yourself lacking in love towards someone, ask God for the love you need. Again, God is love, so there’s no better source to draw from.
Right now this world needs love more than ever before. People are hurting, confused, scared, and searching. The love that many people see is the love that is fed to them from places like Hollywood, or books, or imperfect people. It’s time that the Christians who have received the perfect love from God, stand up and pass that love along to others. It’s amazing what God can do with it, and it’s amazing the lives that can be changed through it.