His Love Letter

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 The other day, I was watching a documentary about a young lady who had been imprisoned for an indictable offense she committed at just sixteen years old. After spending nearly 15 years appealing a life sentence, her sentence was commuted by the Governor of the state and she was acquitted from her previous conviction. In a rare occurrence, the Governor was able to completely overturn what was intended to be a lifelong deprivation of liberty and grant the now adult female total discharge into her community. This powerful act of clemency got me thinking about an even more powerful act of vindication that affected all of humanity.

Much like the young lady, we have all committed offenses that should have caused us to strike out. I’m talking about sins that we would never disclose in public for fear of shame and utter rejection. Yet, while we were at our worst and most undeserving, God pursued us relentlessly and committed to loving us in spite of our flaws and shortcomings. We may have been unaware previously, but God is our origin, and He is the source of love (Genesis 2:7; 1 John 4:8). The Apostle John details the characteristics of this love as he repeatedly emphasizes that our ability to love and our understanding of love, starts with HIM.  Because of God’s ultimate expression of love, we learn that love is not an emotional response, or a euphoric sensation, but that love was, is and always must be an intentional choice.

Throughout the Bible, you will read God’s love woven throughout the stories of people in different times. Contrary to the world’s depiction of love, God’s demonstration of love is not constrained by time or celebrated with money. It cannot be earned or bought. God’s love is a verb. That is to say, God’s love takes action. God’s love chose to see you for who you are, rather than for what you’ve done.  God’s love choses to reconcile a depraved people drowning in a fallen world back to Him. And it is God’s love which took the form of an atoning sacrifice in Jesus Christ who offers us forgiveness, redemption and restoration from sin.

By setting the standard of love forever, God teaches us what true love is and commissions us to emulate that love with one another. The only way to replicate this love in your interactions and relationships then is to know His loving nature thoroughly. Since the knowledge of this love is transformative, it will change you from the inside out. Your definition of love will no longer revolve around the feelings you experience but will be based on the decisions you make to reflect Jesus. For this reason, you cannot stay the same after you have encountered the love of God.

Because we are His children, it is our job to embody this love wherever we go.  Though it can be difficult to imagine how this love ought to unfold in challenging contexts, love sees value (Romans 5:8), it shows appreciation ( 1 Thessalonians 1:2), and says “you are not forgotten” (Isaiah 49:15). Essentially, everyone who interacts with you should be interacting with HIM. Loving others in this sense was never guaranteed to be easy, but love will always show you that it is worth it. Thankfully, whenever you need a reminder of what love is, you can delve into God’s love letter to you, His Word.

Reflection:

How can you learn to love people for who they are vs what they have done? Whose faults do you need to see past in 2021?

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your everlasting love. Thank You for loving me when I was unlovable. Thank you for showing me what true love is and setting this standard forever. God I can never repay You for Your love, but I pray that Your love will be at work in me and will lead me to love others. Help me God to be an example of Your love even as it changes my heart daily. I know Your steadfast love never fails, and I trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Written by Deborah Nimoh