May 8, 2015
1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
As I have noted here multiple times before, love is not a fleeting feeling but a forceful fact. John said earlier, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for others.” Today John says it in yet another way:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
I have a close friend named Bill who usually carries several hundred dollars in his pocket. One day when we were together he quietly slipped me a one hundred dollar bill. “Wow! What a great gift!” I thought to myself as I embraced and thanked him. I could tell it gave him joy to give it to me.
Within minutes, I found myself talking to one of my friends who I knew struggled weekly to make ends meet. Something in me rose up and inspired me to quietly slip that one hundred dollar bill to my friend. He thanked me profusely and embraced me. I could tell this was hitting him at a really good time. I felt elation within as I walked away from that encounter.
Not only that, but when I told Bill about what I did with the hundred dollars it made him glad all over again, and I found myself glad about his gladness. Bill gave the money to me out of his love for me. I gave the money to my friend out of love for him. And in freely giving the love Bill had given me to my friend, the love of Bill was mysteriously made complete in me.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Love is most fully experienced when the gladness of the giver meets the gratitude of the recipient. Love is made complete when the gladness of the giver gets expressed through the generosity of the recipient to release the gift forward to yet another.
If I’m starting to sound circular in my argument it’s because love is, in fact, circular. But love is not a circle. Love’s movement is circular yet the circle never closes itself but continually expands in an outwardly spiraling movement. I call it “spirilical.” Love is the ordinary yet supernatural expression of the ever expanding, outward moving spirilical of self giving generosity.
“No one has ever seen God,” . . . . . but every time this kind of self giving generosity happens in the world, God is made manifest.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Living “through him” is the miracle of the Gospel. It means we become “originals,” points of origin, places where the love of God is originated.
I think we’re on to something.