For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.-John 3:16-17
Chances are you have heard and read this verse a million times, well the first part of it anyway, I threw in the second part because that is what makes the first half such good news. Matt and I went to a wedding on Sunday afternoon and it was lovely and full of joy, love seems to be coming up in many topics recently. My family is falling apart and so, my love for them is playing a huge part in how I want to deal with everything, and my own wedding is coming up in 208 days (a.k.a 7 months). After a year of being engaged, I am ready to be married already but it seems like Jesus has been using this time to teach me about what love really is. The love described in John 3, is a love no human could ever have for anyone else, however, there is love that Jesus describes that we can relate to as humans.
A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples , if you love one another.- John 13:34-35
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. -Romans 12:10
Jesus consistently reminds us to love one another as He has loved us, and how exactly do we do that? We can’t die for one another, we can’t forgive sins the way that He did. Jesus provides answers for us, and it is by saying, we should love others and we love ourselves. We should place others above ourselves. In the New Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas, the word “love” is described for humans as;
To self sacrifice for the good of the loved one. (Douglas 711).
The Bible has a lot to say about love, and it is not surprising because the whole gospel, the whole story of God, is about love. Thank goodness for that too, without God’s love, there would be no grace, without grace we would not have anything. I’ve found myself understanding the love of God more and more as I grow older. The more I am hurt by others, the more I understand God and how it must hurt Him when we sin and turn away from Him. His love is even greater than ours, and I know that in hard times it is easy to forget the extent of His love in full.
I forgive others because I know it is what God would want me to do, and because I know that holding something against someone is not being a loving Christian and I want to love others as much as I can. It is not always easy and sometimes I can let my humanness get the best of me. When I do forgive it feels amazing though, and I do not feel the stress I would if I held something against the person that hurt me. I believe that God uses marriage and relationships to make us more holy and righteous. I have learned more about love in being in a relationship with someone than ever before, I never knew that love could be so powerful.
Matt exemplifies true love to me all the time, and through him, God shows me His love and how I should love others. Through my attitudes, my stubbornness and my times of anger, Matt forgives me and stays close to me even though he may be irritated with me or sad. He shows me what love is by reading the Bible with me and when we disagree about some passage of scripture instead of being mean he wants to hear my opinion. He takes care of me when I can’t take care of myself that well, and he takes interest in the things that I enjoy, and calls me out when I need to be called out. God shows His love through all of those moments.
People always say that the holidays are the most lonely for those who don’t have a spouse, however, they are forgetting that God is there for those who don’t have a spouse. He shows His love through the people around them, by sending them friends and providing for them. As the holidays approach, please look to God for your comfort and remember the Bible is full of statements about how He loves us. Don’t let the way that couples interact put you down, Paul was comforted just knowing that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. Use the relationships around you as a way to express your love to others, and show the love of God.