Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
The way of God is the way of love. The Apostle John adamantly states ”God is love” and he clearly addresses “the Beloved” as those who have known the love of God firsthand. For those of us who have experienced this love, we know it’s kind and it’s honest. Love accepts us where we are, but always moves us forward. Love knows no human bias and never shuns or condemns.
Earlier in 1 John 3, he says, “By this we know love, that [Jesus] laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
The problem is when Christians claim God is love by quoting John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” yet they go around doing the opposite of what the very next verse says. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Some who call themselves “Christian” still hold condemnation for others and racism toward brothers in their heart.
It is imperative we, who call ourselves Christians, continue to grow in our understanding of God’s love. We, who claim to know the love of God, must learn to abide in that love deeply and begin to love others – especially those who are racially different – fully from that kind of unconditional love.
Do you have any neighbors, coworkers or family from a different ethnic background? How can you offer them the love of God by reaching out to love them, serving them and learning from them?
By Yvonne Biel