“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…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them…We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:11-12, 16b & 19-21
God took on flesh so He could lay down His physical life for us [John 1:14]–for our sake and in our place. Jesus made Himself the propitiation–the reparation–for the wrong of our sins that separated us from God [1 John 2:2]. In the infinite love of God, Jesus bridged the gap, lighting the Way, the Truth and the Life for all humankind to see [John 14:6].
As Christians, we are the light of God’s love to a lost and dying world [Matthew 5:13-16]. If we love all others, constantly willing for their good–good as defined by God–then God’s light shines through us. It brings glory and honor to God. It brings understanding, clarity about God, to believers and unbelievers alike.
So many times God takes the fall for being unloving because human beings–His Creation–are unloving. But just as Christ stood in the gap to make things right between God and man, so we as Christians should be stemming the tide of darkness in this life. We should be boldly living as disciples of Christ [John 13:35], loving others as God first loved us [1 John 4:19]. We should be lighting the path of the lost with God’s love so that they see their way to eternal life and joyfully return to their Heavenly Father.
When we don’t love with God’s perfect love, we shadow His true character in the eyes of the world. When we don’t let His infinite love flow through us–whether from pride or sin or selfishness–then the world doesn’t open their ears to hear [Romans 10:14]. When the gospel is not lived in love, its heard message is dismissed as hypocrisy .
If we decide that we just can’t get along with someone, then we are not loving with God’s love. When others mistreat us and we let it keep us from loving them anyway, then we are not loving with God’s love. If we hold grudges or allow jealousy to grow into hard feelings, when we judge or gossip, then we are not loving with God’s love. Then we are not a heavenly light guiding others to Christ but a darkened signal willing their condemnation.
God saved us from death. For this reason alone we should love Him enough to love the rest of His Creation to life. Is your life a light of the good news of God’s love?