REAL AND UNCHANGING LOVE
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us. He sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. This is love; not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4: 7-10).
This is one of the most profound passages of Scripture in the whole Bible. Strange that it should come from the pen of one who was once nicknamed, together with his brother James, “Boanerges”, sons of thunder. These two brothers were real hotheads.
Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting the fry the Samaritans in a particular village in Samaria for refusing hospitality to Jesus. It’s quite understandable that the Samaritans didn’t want this Jew in their village. After all, it was the Jews who despised the Samaritans, not the other way around. Why would they accept Him into their homes and then have Him ridicule them to their faces? Of course, they did not know Jesus.
This same hothead wrote these words, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. What brought about the transformation? Just being with Jesus and being loved by Him! Three years in the Master’s company did wonders for the disposition of these two brothers. But it was even more than that. John himself was loved – deeply loved by Jesus. Jesus loved him not only for who he was but also in spite of who he was. Did you get that? That’s the miracle of God’s love. It’s so different from human love.
We love those to whom we are drawn because of their looks, their personalities, their way of treating us, etc. Our love is mostly reciprocal. Have you ever watched a new father gazing into the face of his new-born baby? There is nothing but wonder and love in his eyes. He holds in his arms a helpless little person who is utterly dependent on him, and he rises to the occasion. He resolves to protect, provide and care for the little one for the rest of its life.
But gradually things change. The helpless baby becomes a stubborn, stubborn toddler who throws temper tantrums, refuses to obey and causes the father great frustration and embarrassment, especially when the child kicks and screams in rage on the shop floor when he cannot get his way. The same father who adored his baby son now beats him mercilessly or shouts at him endlessly when the child begins to show the same characteristics that are in him.
By the time his son reaches teenage, father and son have lost connection with one another. Love has given way to indifference or ever rejection. Why? Because the child did not come up to the father’s expectations, or even worse, the son was so like his father that the father couldn’t bear to have him near. Where is the love for his child now?
But the love of God is not like that. God loves because He cannot help it. Love is the very essence of who He is. God loves us, not because of but in spite of who and what we are. We are His offspring, made in His image, alive by His breath in us. He loves us because of Himself, not because of us. Nothing we do or do not do changes or affects His love. He cannot love us any more or any less than He loves us now.
Is it any wonder that the devil works so hard to keep us from believing in the love of God? Who would run from a love like that if we grasped the enormity and the reality of love that embraces the worst of us and transforms us from hotheads to lovers of God?
How can we be sure of this love? Love is an action, not an emotion word. Love reveals its nature by what it does. God’s love reached its highest point in the gift of His Son to a world that hated and rejected Him. How great that love gives, but what about a love that gives the very best you have, to have it thrown back in your face? That’s what His people did to the Father. He knew it would happen, but He gave His Son.
It was not only the Father who gave. The Son also gave – His life for the sins of the world. No one will ever know what He endured for the sake of love. He wrote His love in blood on the soil of His beloved land and spilled it at the feet of those who hated and crucified Him. How reciprocal was that! No, God’s love is pure giving love.
It is this love that melts our hardened hearts and calls for a response of love. We love because He first loved us. It was this love that melted John’s heart and transformed a hothead into the apostle of love. It was this love that changed Paul from a murderer to a passionate lover of Jesus who was unafraid to pour out his life-blood for his Master.
If you gaze at this love long enough, you too will be transformed.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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