1 John 4:7 – 11
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
When I read the above verses there is a word that keeps jumping out at me as what God would have me do. That word is: love.
First, John calls us his beloved. To my knowledge I have never personally met John, nor he me, but because he is doing as God has asked he loves all he is writing to. It does not say, “To those I know and love.” or “To those I would love because they are like me.” Instead, because God has asked Him to love, everyone, all ones, one another, he loves all who he is writing to.
Then he reminds us to love each other because we our of God and God is love. Again, there are no clarifiers to that love, just God is love and if we say we are his then we are love and should show that love to one another.
This is the part that is really important when reading the above verses, if we do not love, then we do not know God. That is a powerful statement. If you wrong me in anyway, from stepping on my toes to robbing my home, I do not know God, if I do not show you the love He has shown you. Again, no clarifiers, no unless, no only ifs, just a plain, clear statement: If someone does not love, then he does not know God.
John then reminds us again, that God sent his only son, to cover our sins, to take them on and die in them, so that we might live again. Not live to judge one another or to war with one another or to decide we are better than one another, but to love one another.
The verses close with a reminder that if God can love us, when he knows every sin we have committed, will commit, or even thought about committing. Then, who are we to decide that someone is not worthy of our love?
I know that if anyone is reading this, they have been with me right up to now. This is where I usually start to lose people, whenever I talk about these verses.
Love one another. It does not say love those who believe as you do. So, it is not okay to hate or mistreat or not show love to someone who is of another faith or does not believe in God. God loves us, when we reek of sin, so who are we to decide that someone else is not worthy of love because they have not found God or they interpret Him differently than we do? If we are so busy not showing love to someone because they do not worship as we do, then how can we show them that God is love, and therefore, worth checking out?
If we have all we need to survive and someone else is struggling to keep a roof over their head or to feed their family, how are we showing them love, if we vote for laws that take away their food or make it harder for them to find adequate shelter? We are not showing them love, we are showing them indifference at best, hate at worst.
If someone is living a lifestyle we do not agree with, under the New Testament, which is where we live today, it does not say hate them or hurt them or ostracize them because they are not living their life in the same way we are. The verses above make it quite clear, that all we are to do is love them.
And this is the one that is often the hardest for me. If I see others carrying the banner of Christianity, running around being as hateful, selfish, greedy and indifferent as they can possibly be, I am to love them. Even though their every action is an affront to these verses, I am to be someone who knows God, who is love, and I am to love them.
With all the hatred being spewed around this country right now, you are no different than those who have strayed so far from this simple tenet of God, if you do not love the spewers. If you do not stop and say a prayer for them to be relieved of their hate and greed and get back to doing as God would have them do, then you have failed to follow the simple command too. This is the one I woke up feeling most convicted of this morning. A lot of the political pundits in this country can get me going. They often seem to have just chucked the Bible out the window and made up their own operating manual, that is so filled with hate, intolerance, bigotry and greed, that I have been known to just blow a gasket whenever their names come up.
Right there, in that moment, I am committing the exact same sin they are, because I am not loving them. God has said not to sit in judgment of one another, that He and He alone will do that. So, while they are perhaps not loving anyone but themselves, which is being disobedient. I am also disobedient because I do not show them love and leave the rest up to God.
This morning was one of those times when God gives me a gentle nudge and points me to a verse or group of verses that show me where I could use some tuning up. I hope this morning’s nudge helps you remember to just love one another. Period. It really is that simple.