Tuesday, February 5, 2019
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
John puts the shoe on the proper foot. Get to the core, the foundational truth – what’s important is not how we love God but how God shows the depth of his love for us. Our love will always be partial and imperfect, whereas God’s love is perfect and eternal, valid through all time.
This is how we know God loves us – he sent us Jesus. Jesus came to be our model and example, certainly, but John tells us what is most critical – that Jesus came to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God wanted nothing to stand between us and God, so God asked Jesus to bridge the chasm by taking on himself the sins we have committed. He who did no wrong hung on the cross for our sake, so that we may be forgiven and for justice to be served.
When I think about how much God loves me and what great cost God endured to make sure I was forgiven, it makes me want to try to be more forgiving of others. After all, are my errors of judgment and my intentional wrongs, more worthy of forgiveness before God than those of another? Did Jesus die for me alone? Of course not. But God is asking me to do a better job at forgiving and loving others, given the extent to which God went in allowing his only son Jesus to die for our sins.
John writes that, “No one has ever seen God, but if we love another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” We can’t see God, but we can see God working through the life of one who loves God and allows God to live in them. We wonder how some folks can be kind to a difficult person that everyone else tries to avoid. If there are certain people you struggle to love, God may be asking you to work harder in letting God work within that relationship. God wants to help us become complete – which is a lifelong process of maturing in Christian love.
Lord, I want to love others the way you love me, but I need your help. I lift up to you whomever you bring onto my path this day. Whether family member, co-worker or complete stranger, let me be with them the way you have treated me – with love, kindness and forgiveness. I ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.