1 John_4

Scripture  1 John 4:19-21   We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Observation-What does it say?  The way we describe love, in sentimentality and romantic love, often falls short of the love we are called to through God’s word.  God’s love is infinite and is always good, and so we ought to try to reverberate this to those around us. In his commentary, John Clavin writes, “that as God has anticipated us by his free love, we ought to return to render love to him, for he immediately infers that he ought to be loved in men, or that the love we have for him ought to be manifested towards men.”  The love of the Father is through faith, while the love of men is evidenced through works. This echoes what is written in James (2:14-25), that we show our faith through our works.

Understanding-What does it mean?  Getting into an automobile and driving to work is, often times for me, an exercise in my faith.  Driving is a dangerous pursuit, especially in Southern California at commuting times. With the amount of time I am almost killed, I begin to wonder if I am the only one who knows how to drive.  And, there have been times when I feel it is important enough to tell the person who almost killed me that they don’t know how to drive. So, while driving, I am reminded of how well I love others.  More accurately, I am reminded of how I am completely inept at loving those around me.   

God often speaks to me while driving, especially in one area where I am lacking in showing His love to others, forgiveness.  As I start to yell at the person in front of me, I hear the Holy Spirit say, “What about the last time you did that?” My reaction to this has ranged greatly, from being upset that Jesus wants me to forgive others, to being grateful for how much I have been forgiven.  

Most nights, we pray the Lord’s prayer with our boys as they are going to bed.  Part of that prayer is “forgive our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”  Interestingly enough, this prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29). The beginning of this message Jesus tells us where it all begins, we are saved through his grace.  In Matthew 5:13-16, we are reminded to be the salt of the earth, and that salt is worthless once it has lost its saltiness.  

How can we show our flavor (our faith and character), without acting it out?  How can we love without loving others, and forgiving them of the wrongs they have done to us?  Thankfully, because of the grace shown to us, we are able to go on loving others.

Life Application    Jesus, thank you for your grace.  Thank you that even when I fall short of your standard of love you forgive me.  Help me to live out this forgiveness, to show kindness to others. Give me practical ways to show love to others beyond forgiveness.
-Tyler Galloway