We Love Because He First Loved Us
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:17-21 (MSG)
One of the farm families in my church turned a barn into a “haunted house” for the youth group’s Halloween party. Old barns are scary enough in their own right, but this overachieving family decided to make this barn truly frightening.
They made a path and set up stations that each member of the group had to pass. It didn’t matter how frightened you were, there was no going back. Some of us paired up, in hopes of spreading out the terror. The thing that made it truly terrorizing, some of the stops were simply pauses—nothing happened. Other stops along the path had startling creatures that would move or jump out at you. Some of the stops had bowls of goo you had to stick your hand in and retrieve something.
It was all very exciting and scary mostly because it involved the unknown. None of us knew what was going to happen next. All we knew is it would be scary.
Love Can Be Frightening
Yesterday’s post Afraid to Love, identified fear as the motivating factor for those afraid to love. Loving is a scary prospect. To love, you have to lay yourself open, you have to offer yourself to others who may reject, abuse or ignore your love. There is an unsettling element of the unknown involved in loving others.
For you, perhaps the potential of unrequited love is so disturbing you opt out of loving. What if you love others and get nothing in return?
God’s Word Provides Comfort
God’s word offers comfort to those who are afraid to love. God’s word offers a shove to those who are afraid to love.
We love because He first loved us.
The undeserving, miserable, pitiful creation—fallen and wallowing—that is the object of God’s love. God’s love is not for the deserving, the beautiful, those capable of returning the love shown, or the one who can pull himself up and out of the pit. God’s love is for the one who only deserves judgment and punishment. In His love, God takes action and makes a way for the undeserving to become deserving.
God’s Love for the Believer Abounds
God saturates the believer with His love. That love fills and covers the believer. God removes the unknown element from the act of love. You need not fear that your love for others may be rejected, unreciprocated or ignored. You need not fear you will run out of love. The love the believer shares is God’s love. You can rest in knowing you are secure in God’s love. You can act confidently knowing His love never runs out.
God loved first, now His command is, “You love like I love.”
After all, it’s not about you.