I love this passage of scripture. In fact, it is the verse of scripture we use to close every podcast on blogtalkradio every Thursday evening. It is a reminder to us–that since God loves us–in spite of us–that we should love one another–in spite of us. That’s love–unconditionally.
Now, why should we love others–unconditionally? When we truly love like God loves because He is Love, we don’t have time to think about: hating, criticizing, judging, being vengeful, plotting to kill, steal, destroy, manipulate or lie. When we see things in others that we “do not like” we pray for them, while still loving them.
I can imagine that there are many people who have stories to tell about wayward children–those who just would not listen. In fact, I was one of them. Things turned upside down for me when my mother chose to move to Michigan from a small community in West Virginia in my senior year of high school–I lost it. I rebelled and created all sorts of havoc (for myself) including not finishing high school on time. I hated the high school I was attending and finally quit–needing just two classes to graduate.
Where does a rebellious child go with no high school diploma? Anywhere they want to go–they just don’t succeed at much of anything. At any rate, I took the two classes during summer school, and went on to start a college career, but was still in a rebellious mode. Consequently, it took me twenty-five years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, but once I went at it, I refused to stop. Hence, the completion of doctoral coursework at over 60 years old. Did I learn anything? Absolutely! My mother loved me in spite of me, God loved me in spite of me, my children love me in spite of me and I learned to love myself–in spite of me.
Can we do it? Can we receive the love of God for ourselves and yet not love others? Can we learn to love self (a prerequisite for loving others)? Can we learn to love others–unconditionally? When we learn to love, we’ll change the world-one person at at time because love, like prayer, changes things.
Father, in the name of Jesus, speak our hearts and help us to love like You love. Show us the way to change ourselves as we work to change the world by creating an atmosphere of love.