All You Need Is Love?

I’ve been pondering 1 John for several weeks. Frankly, it’s been a bit frustrating.

I’m trying to understand why the writer goes on and on about love. I get that love is a big deal. It’s the big deal. But it feels like the letter goes around and around this same topic.

I figure I must be missing something deeper. So I continue to mull over these words, seeking the wisdom of this old man who walked beside Jesus.

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

I think he’s saying I can’t love on my own. Any “love” I create is some kind of sentimentality, at best a shadow of the sacrificial agape that’s God’s inherent nature. Since “God is love” (verse 16), my attempt to love on my own is essentially creating God in my image.

I can only reflect the love I’ve received and accepted.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:21)

I’ve known “spiritual” folks who wanted to withdraw, live in isolation, focus on God and their relationship with Him. If I understand this statement, John’s saying we can’t really do that.

I think he’s telling us community isn’t optional, that love for God must be expressed as love for other people.

In our culture, neither of these notions is comfortable. John seems to claim we’re not the independent, self-made individuals we prize so highly. We don’t get to be in control, and we can’t have it our way.

We’re interdependent on others and dependent on God.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
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