7 Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. 15 If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. 16 We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.
I am going to assume that all of us have times when we experience a feeling of not really liking a person that we love. Let’s face it – we get angry and frustrated, we disagree with something someone said or did, or we feel hurt by being left out or singled out. There are people in the Bible that God and Jesus were frustrated with. Some that come to mind are Moses (Exodus 4:10-12), Jonah (Jonah 4:10), and Peter (Luke 22:34). We know that these humans were deeply loved by God and are beloved characters in our Christian life. In fact, they were so loved, and so are we, that Jesus went to the cross, just as John 3:16 tells us: for God so loved the world that he sent his Son to die for us.
As Christians, we are called to love people, whether or not we like them. That means helping whoever we can, whenever we can. That means finding a way to be kind to those we feel are not in line with our beliefs. That means praying for those who have done horrible things. In fact, as the scripture states, we should be asking for the Holy Spirit to help us to do this (Matthew 5:44, Romans 8:26).
In this time when many people feel that Christians are being hateful and hurtful, we need to shine a light of love. I was having dinner with some women and one of them commented that there was a Catholic Church somewhere she had traveled to in Europe where flags of affirmation were flying for the LGBTQAI+ community. Another woman said, “It is right there in your face?” I pointed out that it needed to be obvious or people may not feel welcome and loved as they are. I appreciate that MUMC has advertised love for all in this way. There are many other ways we can show love – by not ignoring family members that may have different politics, for example – we can talk about something else, we can bring food for the outreach center, we can refrain from yelling at someone who cuts us off in traffic or just open a door for someone. These are all extensions of Christ’s love for us. We know that our actions can be frustrating to God at times, so let’s remember that we are loved regardless of those actions and are expected to extend the love that is so much bigger than us to others.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
Who do you love but not like very much right now? In what ways can you show love to those people and to others around you?
Prayer: Loving God, please send your Spirit to give us the strength to extend your love – both those we like and those we dislike – as we remember your love for us. Amen.