God's Amazing Love

“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 4:10-11

One of my very favorite traditions at Greystone is watching a late night movie on the pageant court. I especially love watching The Princess Bride. There’s nothing like saying all of the lines along with everyone, sitting in your Crazy Creeks in the grass and cheering when Wesley and Princess Buttercup finally kiss at the end of the movie.

One of my favorite scenes is when the bad guy keeps telling his henchmen that what is going on is “inconceivable!” One of his henchmen finally says, “You know, boss, I don’t think that means what you think it means.” When I read 1 John 4 (and you should read this whole passage because it’s such a great one), I feel like God is telling me that the idea of love does not mean what I think it means.

It’s pretty easy to want to be around people who are easy to be around. That’s kind of obvious, I would say. It’s easy to love people who are lovable. That seems pretty obvious too. What 1 John is saying here, though, is that love works a lot differently than we think it should.

When we were sinners, when we didn’t want anything to do with God, even when we ran as far away from God as we could, He loved us. Even as we rebelled and messed up time and time again, God sent his son, Jesus, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

That’s pretty fancy wording, but it means that God sent Jesus so He could make up for all of the things that we messed up on, all the times we ran away from God. He didn’t do it because of anything we did. He didn’t do it because we were lovable. He did it because He wanted to have a relationship with us.

There are a few things that happen when we realize we didn’t do anything to deserve God’s love. First, we can rest. We can trust that God does love us, and since He loves us even when we don’t deserve it, we don’t have to earn His love. We don’t have to prove that we’re worthy, because He sees that we’re unworthy and loves us anyway.

Secondly, we can love ourselves even when we don’t feel very lovable. Our view of ourselves changes because we can see how God views us.

Lastly, our entire view of love is flipped upside down. Love doesn’t hinge on what we do! That’s life changing! This applies to how God sees us, how we see ourselves, and how we see others.

When we recognize that real love, the love that 1 John 4 talks about, isn’t earned, we don’t have to wait for other people to earn our love. We can see that even though people can and will disappoint us, we can still love them. In fact, we’re called to love people like God has loved us. Not because of what they’ve done, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what God has done.

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