1 John 4:7-21, ” 7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Perhaps what gives us the most trouble is loving each other as God would have us. We know the Golden Rule, but we don’t often think of it as “Love your brother as you would have him love you.” Sometimes you have to make tough choices in the name of love. It’s one thing to give a homeless man money in the hopes that he would buy a meal. It’s another thing to walk him into the nearest McDonalds and buy him a meal.
I just saw that newish movie, The Blind Side. In it, a Christian school has to make a tough decision. Do they accept Mike even though what records they do have indicate that he’d likely fail? Do they outright reject him? While in the movie, the coach makes an impassioned plea for the board to take the term Christian seriously and admit him because it’s the right thing to do, that’s not exactly what happened in real life. The real Mike was asked to work at home and was thus unable to attend school from day one that year. The comming together of God’s love to help the young man was more gradual than anything else. A little thing here, a small thing there, but overall God put people in certain places to make a difference in that young man’s life. But to see how it all turned out, you’ll have to see the movie for yourself.
The connection between God and love isn’t always an easy one to understand. Even more so when we’re asked to apply it to our lives. One thing I do know is that this world would be a little less cold if we shared the warmth of God’s love even a little more.