This is Love!
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world 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. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:9-12
When a young man discovers that the young woman who first caught his attention has now captured his heart, he is receiving his first real lesson in what love is all about. I believe the first love experience is usually a one sided “love affair” which like a famous love song says it “lives in” his heart.
In today’s Eros oriented world you may not believe me when I say that a young man’s first taste of love may have literally nothing to do with sex. Real love cherishes the object of that love and does anything that will be good for the loved one. Real love can very well be a one way street. It literally does not diminish the strength of a young man’s love when the object of his love does not know about it, or does and does not love him back.
Of course, when the love is not returned it does not result in a long term relationship, a wedding, and ultimately a family.
In this picture the Lord Jesus Christ is the young man. And we are the ones who caught His attention and His heart. Since the fall of man in the garden Jesus has pursued us and cherished us. Mostly, we have ignored His love, spurned His love and continued through life as if He does not exist. Since the day of your birth and even long before, Jesus has done whatever He could do to express His overwhelming love for you. Two thousand years ago Jesus even suffered the punishment for your sins so that you might not have to die!
When a baby is born to a young couple the love that flows toward that child is overwhelming. The couple allows their total existence to be significantly altered for the good of that baby. But it is years before the baby can truly love them back. And those of us who are parents and are honest know that we never love our own parents with the depth of love that we have for our children. That is just the way it works. With parents and children love may be returned but the greater love is passed on to the next generation.
So it is with us and God. God’s great love for us must be returned and only then will we have an eternal relationship with Jesus. But He clearly says “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Loving each other, passes on the love that Jesus has for us. If my children all say they love me, but hate each other, then I am grieved. If my children love each other and their children then I am satisfied that I have been to them as my parents were to me. When I love others I know that God lives in me and that His love is made complete in me!
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us