We love because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19
It started long before you or I was born – before humanity ever existed – this love that swings the door wide to invite us in.
It is a vulnerable baby in a manger. A mercy-filled man with dusty feet. A Saviour with arms extended on a cross. God’s Son, sent to suffer for our sin and die in our place, showing how He loves us.
Then comes the weighty realization of what this love offer means: we matter. The creator of the created offering a way back – a way out – from our sin. We are forgiven. We are free. We are made new. The Lover loves us – enough to live to die.
It is a grand invitation and it changes everything.
We learn to love Him back. It takes a lifetime and perhaps even eternity.
But there we are, reaching back to the outstretched arms, our fragile faith turning to the One who can turn it into so much more.
Here we pile our tears, sorrow, disillusionment, cynicism, all the battered debris of our lives, and exchange it for joy, peace, hope, love, and thankfulness – the very washing of our souls as we are repeatedly made new.
Then we learn to love others. It takes a lifetime. Perhaps even an eternity.
But we learn to love not for what they can do for us, say to us, or give to us. We learn to love in spite of what they do to us, say to us, or give us. Because Jesus said, “Love others as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
And love begins to look an awful lot like the cross – the very laying down of your life for another.
It looks like repeated forgiveness and grace.
And that love-learning continues while we begin to live unoffended and unafraid.
We begin to reflect the Lover with a bold love that ravages the darkness, scatters the enemy, and provokes peace; a transforming love that welcomes the beggar or the boastful, the beautiful or the battered, the weary and the worried; a rescuing and restorative love that fights for freedom and rebuilds the waste places.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
I bless you that you receive God’s love-offer and extend it to others.