Larger than Life Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have 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. 1 John 4:7-11 (ESV)
My dog longs for me to play with her, as she greets me at the door with her “ducky,” a dilapidated squeaky toy that once resembled a duck. My friends and I savor our mutually encouraging conversation, more than the pumpkin spice lattes. Each person in my life needs my love, in a different way.
The problem is…
I flop on the couch, while my dog stands nearby, duck in mouth, not-so covertly begging to play. I spend time on Facebook, liking several of my “friends” posts; there are 729 of them, by the way.
You may be able to relate; even more so, you have probably been on both sides of the equation; the victim and the villain when it comes to relationships. Relationships are a complicated thing, no doubt. We will never become experts at loving others, because we all fall short of God’s glory.
It is a bold thing to think about God’s love. To force the concept of an infinite love that crosses the borders of time and space, to fit inside of my comparatively minute brain, is an utterly impossible feat. God’s love cannot be described in human words. Perhaps the heavenly beings speak in a holy language that involves all elements of the universe. In this way they fully know and are able to praise the Almighty God, The I Am; The Lord Most High, our God who is Love.
The reason we love others, the reason we try to care about the people in our lives, is not to be categorized as “good people;” or to be accepted as one of somebody’s 730th “friend.” The reason is not to gain God’s stamp of approval, either. We lost that privilege long, ago.
The reason we love is because God sent His Son to this “ghetto,” called earth, in order to save our doomed souls. Jesus was mugged, mocked, and nailed to a cross; because it was his Father’s will. Jesus experienced pain in its fullest form, because of His passion for mankind. In the original Bible, the word “passion” equated to God’s Love for us expressed in the form of Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus took on the sin of the world, through suffering, to the point of death on a cross, so that we could experience His love in full someday.
It makes no sense. It is a beautiful mystery that no earthly being can fathom. God created us without the full knowledge of Himself. God’s love and grace is that much bigger than us. Praise the Lord!
What we do have is Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit, and God’s word. This is what has been revealed to us; what God has given us to hold on-to. For no reason other than the holy mystery of God’s larger than life love, we must choose to love each other, over loving the world. Because when we love others, we love Christ Himself.