“Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God…This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us…Dear friends, since God loved us, we ought to love one another” 1 John 4:7-11.
L-O-V-E. The English word "love" can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from interpersonal affection to pleasure. The word itself has the power to build or destroy based on our hearts. We attach so much to the word it is a miracle that anyone feels love or shows love to others. We tell those people around us that we love them but then we hold on to expectations from them. We hold in our hearts mysteries of things that must be done for our love to be doled out. We toss the word around like some bad marketing plan where we are trying to sell it to unconvinced buyers. A person can tell when there are conditions that must be met to receive someone’s love and affection.
This is why the true definition of love comes outside of ourselves. Love was created by God and exists in God. The only path to true love is through the heart of God. Our passage begins by stating our command from God: love one another with the love God gives. It is followed up with the example we are to follow for love: sacrifice for others even if it is undeserved. We are told the benefits of sharing this love: life experienced in God here and in eternity. In case we still are unclear about the face of love it is explained again: we are loved based on His actions, not on any performance. This passage ends with the same command as the beginning: love one another with the love previously described.
When following this beautiful blueprint of love we are to measure all of our actions against the question, ‘Is this action rooted in love?’ We are to expect to sacrifice for others as Christ did for us. We are to expect God to give us life in wounded areas to be able to love like He loves. We are not to hold others to our own expectations and entitlements when we have been given freedom from performance.
We are to love others with the same perfect love that God gives us…love that is undeserved… love that is immeasurable…love that always works to the benefit of the other person.
It is true that Jesus loves us "Unconditionally" and we should seek to emulate such love as much as possible.....but let's be honest, we are grasping at straw here! We are flawed human beings and at some point or another have loved out of expectations.
We can try to love as Jesus love...but that's all we can do, try.