For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 NRSV
God so loved. Love. I have really been thinking about the concept of love today. What does it mean to really love, especially in the church community? Many of us know the saying, "You always hurt the one you love!" Sadly, many more of us have seen this happen right in our own churches! It makes me wonder if we really don't know what love is. We only mimic true love. We think of romantic love (lust, really) and we place it on a pedestal.
But as someone who has been married for 16 years, I know that real love takes work. Sometimes more work than I want to give to it. In fact, I use anger, fear, and my own selfish desires in my marriage more often than I use love. Then I go to church and it is no surprise that my love for sisters and brothers in Christ is a lot less than true love. I think it has more to do with tolerance. And I can do that at work!
This verse tugs on my heart because it tells me that God loved and God continues to love. And it isn't just tolerance! If God had just tolerated the world, I don't think God would have given God's only son! If God loves with true love, giving away the most precious gift out of love, then why am I holding back my own love and my own precious gifts?
God, you love us. Thank you! God, you have given us your most precious gift. Thank you! God, you don't just tolerate us. Thank you! God, you really want us to love one another. Help! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims