Truly, He taught us to LOVE one another…
LOVE. Love may be the most obvious trait of a God who is willing to die for all of humanity. It is the one trait that we, as humans, lose sight of and mutate, don’t we?
Love gets distorted when we believe that God’s love couldn’t possible be for us, right? Or for THOSE people? Love gets warped when we don’t quite believe the truth that God’s love came in the gift of himself wrapped in fragile-human-baby-flesh, given for us to crucify…
So many questions…
When I was in college, I was so incredibly earnest and in my desire to learn, grow and understand the world and faith I was a part of. It was precious. I was asking a lot of big questions about my faith. I needed to understand WHY I believed what I believed and I wanted to know it had some intellectual merit as my pride at that time was my intelligence and understanding.
So the questions looked a lot like this: WHY would God leave heaven to come as a human to die for us?
He didn’t have to. It makes no sense! Exactly. It does not make sense to my own mind, operating under the growing knowledge of how power and strength work in this world.
One simple answer…
The answer to my questions and confusion was always an aggravatingly simple, almost profane in its beauty, four letter word for who God is: LOVE. The bible repeats this over and over in its attempt to get us to understand God’s character.
“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.”- 1 John 4:9-10, The Message
God is love, operates in love and actively loves you and everyone else. In a world where there is no perfect human example of love, this can seem too good to be true. When the answer of “God is love” seemed too simple to accept, I stumbled on this sentence in a book I was reading:
“But love is the final reality; And anyone who does not understand this, be he writer or sage, is a man flawed in wisdom.” – Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy
This world is in desperate need of accepting the truth of a God who is love, who is willing to go all the way to the manger and then the cross to prove that love. Why can’t we accept it? Why is it that the very next question asked, primarily internally, is not if this love is true but who is it for?
We look at the brokenness and ugly sin in our lives that no one sees but us and think, “It can’t be for me.” The Truth is this: “the maker of the Stars would rather die for you than live without you.” – Max Lucado. We need to believe that truth and hold on to it for dear life.
Alternatively, if we accept this love for ourselves, then it can’t be for THOSE people, the ones who we view as enemies, threats, or are so easily despised and rejected for whatever fill-in-the-blank reason. We become like the law expert conversing with Jesus that prompted him to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, asking “Who is my neighbor?”or “Jesus, who is it EXACTLY I am required to love? Who can I get away with not loving the way you love me?”
Our Job is to Love.
Jesus makes it pretty clear in his coming as a baby, his life, teachings, death and resurrection that God is love.
Love. Full Stop. God wants love for us, from us, and between us. You will never look at a person (even in the mirror) that God does not love. God looks at all of us and declares in one action that we are worth dying for.
This season, we celebrate all that put that final declaration of love in motion. The God of love CAME to us. Love came down from heaven at Christmas time.