1 John 4:8
(We have created a coffee mug with this image on it.)
For much of my life I have worked on 'loving' family and friends. While certainly difficult at times, this hasn't been to much of a stretch because I like all of these people and share a lot in common with them. But how do I love those I don't know very well, and even more difficult how do I love those I don't like very well? The people who don't agree with me in matters that I consider very important. The people who are rude and unpleasant. I'm called to love these people, not just to be nice to them or tolerate them, but to LOVE them. This is not something that comes naturally to me. So recently I've been praying about how to really love others and I think this chapter in John's letter gives me a clue as to how this can be possible.
I have pulled out a small portion of 1 John 4:8 for my image, but this whole verse in context is very powerful.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.
I can't love people I barely know without God, and I certainly can't love people I don't like without God. Love like this is only possible because God is love. Thank you Jesus!