The apostle John wrote that God’s love for us is the model for our love for one another (1 John 4:9-11). Just a little later he wrote that our love for God is our model for loving one another (1 John 4:20). Actually, what he wrote in verse 20 is that if we do not love our brethren we cannot love God; it is an impossible love.
I find it difficult to believe that I hate…anyone! I just cannot think of anyone that I hate. However, what if we understand the word “hate” here to mean “love less” as it does in other places (e.g. Luke 14:26), or, since we have already seen that the proper way to love our fellowman is to love as God loves us, what if we understand hate to simply mean a failure to so love (1 John 4:11)?
No matter what I do, God will not fail to take me back when I come to Him in repentance. If I love you the way He loves me, no matter what you do, I will not give up on you and will be there to agape (love) you with the thing you need most…the love of God.
Remember, God loves you and so do I.
Jesus said to love one another “even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). After noting that God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, John wrote that if He loves us that much, we ought to love one another (1 John 4:9-11).
When I consider how I love my fellowman, it seems that I have not always followed this example as well as I should have. It’s easy to love those who love you, isn’t it? It’s not even very difficult to love those who, at the very least, don’t mistreat us. However, I should also be willing to love those who hate, or mistreat, even persecute me (Matthew 5:44-47).
No matter what I do, God promises not to leave me. Even if (or when) I leave Him, He always welcomes me back when I repent. Am I so generous with others? It’s so easy to write people off as unreachable, or unworthy because of what they have done. Thank God He did not think that of me!
Remember, He loves you and so do I.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). There are many great points we can make from this verse and its context, but I want to focus on the phrase “…that you love one another, even as I have loved you…”
The word translated “love” here (agape) is a self-sacrificing, unconditional love. Jesus had this same love for me when He went to the cross…for me…even knowing what I would do, what sins I would commit.
I know what the word means, but I am forced to ask myself, “Do I really love my fellowman unconditionally, no matter what they do?” I have always answered, “Yes! If given the opportunity, I would always happily share with them the Gospel, rather than abandon them to the judgment that awaits!” But, is that really true and is that all there is to it?
I want to spend some time in the next few posts exploring this concept more deeply than I have before. I hope you will join me! We may need the encouragement of company on this journey. Remember, God loves you and so do I.