Last week we looked at the first verse in our month on Love (do pop over to Naomi’s blog to read the write up) and I took away from that a better understanding of how different God’s love is to ours and that his love puts all other things into context in our lives. God’s love is so powerful in our lives that our lips must glorify him for it if we truly understand it!
This week we have been pondering a verse that asks us to look at our own love – are we really showing that fruit? Here is a reminder of the verse:
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” 1 John 4:20
There are so many verses about love in 1 John, but in learning to grow in our fruit of love I think this one is really important. You know, we don’t have a God that is ignorant about our struggles. We don’t have a God that sits up in heaven and goes ” well this is how good I am at loving, why aren’t you the same?”. Initially it might seem like this passage is quite judgmental (I definitely thought that at the beginning of this week!), but by the end of my week pondering it, I think God is actually recognising how difficult it is for us to love something unseen.
We have a God who came down to earth to experience life as a human being. God in human form, Jesus. Jesus experienced the same struggles and difficulties that we do, and I am sure that would have included struggling with loving those around him. With his twelve disciples we know he experienced betrayal at the hands of Judas, bickering amongst his friends as to who was the greatest, rejection through Peter disowning him and I’m sure much much more which wasn’t documented in the gospels. Jesus lived real life with people, and spending so much time with others can be hard. But yet Jesus showed us that it is still possible to love in these situations.
God knows that it truly is hard to love your brothers and sisters (we are all broken people after all), but he also knows and understands that we are creatures who want proof. Just think about doubting Thomas – not believing until he saw the nail holes in Jesus’ hands. Think about all those who believed because of the miracles that Jesus performed. Seeing is believing for us humans, but seeing is not always possible with God:
“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
To love an unseen God is hard as there is that element of faith, but when we see the work of his great love in our own lives how can we not? I think this week’s verse is saying “hey, practice your love on the people you can see first! I know that it is easier to do it when things are seen. When you can say that you love others then I will believe you when you say that you love me too”.
Hate and love are mutually exclusive – like light and dark they cannot happen at the same time. So if there is any hate in our hearts for others then there is no room for love. God is telling us to sort out that hate first, to do the easier thing of choosing to love the seen and dealing with that, before then approaching God.
Well that is the sum of my random thoughts for this week! I would love to hear what you took from this verse, so please do leave your comments below.
We are back over on Naomi’s blog talking about the next verse in our Mummy Meditation series on love, so do join us there:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13