Love seems a sweet and gentle idea. When we think of love, romantic visions of fluffy angels and love-hearts float in our heads, young couples running towards each other in slow motion through a field…but love comes at a cost. It involves pain and sacrifice. Have you ever loved someone so deeply that you would do anything for them? I imagine that anyone with children would be in that category. Well, that’s how much God loves us. So much that he would do anything for us, to save us from an eternity without him. That’s why he made the huge and amazing sacrifice of his own Son, sent to earth to teach, preach, heal and die, conquering death for our sakes.
What does it mean that God loves us so much? God always wants the very best for us. And that means God wants it for all people too. I know how much it pains me as a parent when two children I love are being awful to each other – how much more must it pain God when his children treat each other badly? If we accept God’s great love for us, we have a responsibility to love everyone else with that same love – as it flows out from us, the supply is always replenished from the depths of God’s love. As we model this love, we can encourage others also to love. We can get involved with our communities and our world, transforming unjust and unloving structures. We cannot refuse to love anyone, no matter how much we may not like them, how much we may not approve of them or their lifestyle, how much they have hurt us or someone we love. Love isn’t so easy is it?
The only way we can truly love as God wants us to love, is to see others as God sees them – worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus.