God Is Love And We Must Love
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:7-8,10-12 (NIV)
When has someone most looked like God to you? Has it been when you have observed them reading the Bible or praying? Or did they look like God when you saw them going into church? As useful and necessary as these things are, they each can be undone in a moment. Let me explain. What if the person you observe praying or reading the Bible is, on another occasion, seen gossiping or expressing rage and unkindness. How would you feel toward them then? Or what if you witnessed an individual lifting hands up in the sanctuary during worship only to hear that those same hands beat a spouse? I'm sure the image of God you initially saw would quickly fade.
The image of God (which is love) is only expressed in how we treat others. If we treat them with loving kindness and patience, then God is revealed. But if we treat individuals harshly and without respect, then the image of God is damaged. That's why John says, "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." When John says God's love is made complete in us, he means God's love is revealed through how we live in love toward others.
What have others seen in you? I'm not trying to give you a guilt trip, but a wake-up call — wake-up to who God has called you to be and how He has called you to live. God is love, and we who are born out of His love must love others.
Lord Jesus, help me to understand that being Your follower is living a life that demonstrates Your love to a world that is desperate for it. Remind me that Your Holy Spirit lives in me so that I can love others with Your love. Amen