Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love,~1 John 4:8.
There are so many verses in the Bible that tell us God is love. I thought when I started talking about God’s love people would rejoice about it! I mean He seems too good to be true, but He is not. He is better than good. I’ve found many people want God to be angry. They want God to punish the world. Many see Him as cold, cruel, unfeeling, unconcerned, weak, etc….Many people pick up old testament verses about God’s wrath and run with them.
Don’t get me wrong, God is perfect in holiness. He has the ability to give and take life. We honor Him, respect Him, and understand that without salvation we are lost and will pay the full penalty for sin. He is not a weak kitten; He is a consuming fire. He is passionate about justice. He cares how we treat Him and others. He is not a pushover. He is also not a bully. He made Himself vulnerable to us. He gave us a way to be close to Him.
If God is so good, why do we (humans) have such a hard time believing it…
1. We know God by faith. We must believe in order to receive. If we don’t believe in God, everything we see in the world will be filtered through that unbelief. If we don’t believe God loves us, our circumstances will validate our unbelief. Here’s an example. Have you ever met a person who believes the world is bad, people are bad, everything is bad? I have. They believe everyone is out to get them. So, anything that happens is filtered through that belief. I had a lady tell me that I did not like her as much as other people and she was convinced everything I did was to leave her out. On my end, I did like her. Anytime she felt slighted there was a logical explanation. She wasn’t a target for me. She believed she was the target, therefore her unbelief clouded her vision. If we believe God is angry, we will take our circumstances and make them fit that belief. If we believe God is good, then we view our circumstances through the lens of His goodness.
Example from life…
My car accident in January cost me a car and increased my expenses. If I think, God hates me, He is punishing me….then yes…that is what I will take away. If I think God loves me…He saved my life…I could have died…I have a nicer car…maybe the other car was about to break down and now I have a higher value for a totaled car than a trade in…then that is what I take away. What we believe is powerful.
2. We’ve had horrible experiences with people, especially Christians or parents. I wish it weren’t so, but people are sinful. People have done more to push people away from God than we’d imagine. None of us are perfect so we rely on grace. If a person has a horrible encounter with their parents or people who claim to know God, it can taint the view that God is love. Our parents are supposed to love us unconditionally as God does. Together they are to show us what love is. When they don’t, we have a hard time relating to God.
Christian means imitator of Christ. When we (Christians) fail to represent God’s love, we miss an opportunity for people to know how good He is. We can help push people away from God.
3. We’ve misread the Bible. People debate over the Bible all the time. I can say with true conviction that God is love. There are tons of verses on God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, desire for us, compassion, and grace. He does not love us in the way we may think, meaning our world’s belief that love means live as you please (that’s not real love by the way).
God has made the appropriation for all sin by sending His Son. I wouldn’t die for people I care nothing about. I would not send my son to die for people I did not like. I would not invite someone into relationship that I could not stand. God LOVES us.
4. We’ve based God’s love off our feelings or circumstances. If I wrote out for you my testimony you might question how I could say God is love. My circumstances have not always pointed to this truth. It is truth despite circumstances, feelings, or what we see. God is love, and He does and will work all things together for the good of those who love Him,~Romans 8:28.
5. We think love is a life with no pain and getting whatever we want, whenever we want it. I’ve met many people who say, “If God loved me then I wouldn’t have to go through this, or if God loved me, this would not have happened, or if God loved me, He would give me__________.” God loves us so much. He is not, however, obligated to do whatever we demand of Him. The Bible does not tell us a life with God means no pain. Jesus told us, in the world we would have trouble but to take heart as he has overcome the world. God’s love is not based on what He gives us, what He does for us, etc…Love is who He is. His love cannot change. We can’t see why He allows certain things to happen. I do know if He allows it, He brings something good from it. Read the book of Job, it’s encouraging.
Lastly, I will say if we ask for a deeper revelation of God’s love, we will begin to see it. It’s always on full blast and pointed in our direction. I believe it’s blocked many times by our unbelief. It’s there, we just can’t see it.
Papa, I pray any areas of our hearts that are not open to receiving Your love are softened. May we know the height, the depth, the width, and the vast expanse of Your love. When we see You, may we see love, the eyes of love. In Jesus name, Amen.