"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God." 1 Jn 4:7
John's first letter is remarkable in so many ways but two are especially noteworthy. His demand that we love one another because love is of God is no simple task. As more contemporary writes remind us, love is often a decision, not simply something that we feel, but something we choose. Moreover, when we remember that Jesus told us to love our enemies, we realize how difficult the choice to love can be.
John's letter also pushes us beyond our comfort zone in another area. Love is no longer restricted to love of family, tribe, culture, nation or church. Everyone who loves, John insists, is begotten by God and knows God. The God about whom John writes is not a God of the Jews or Christians alone, but someone who belongs to all who are willing to let go of their natural limitations, fears and prejudices to love those upon whom they stumble each day. This love demands a huge heart and a willing spirit that sees in all creation and especially in all people, an image of God, the creator of all.
Whether we are able to love as expansively as John suggests everyday is not the point. All will fail regularly trying to live the vision of Jesus, but we must always ask for the grace to love each person we meet with the love that will open them to the God who is love. What happens to them is up to God. What we do is up to us.
Today, taste the sweetness of loving another in the name of the living God without expectation.
What or who is most difficult for you to love as God would have you love?