“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-12, ESV)
So we see in God’s word that he is love itself. Notice, it says, “no one has ever seen God” while in the context of speaking about what we are to look like amidst each other. Some description of recognizing another believer, or in the same sense, ‘seeing God’ is to see love for what it is as He has defined it.
Read: What is strong with me?
If you want to understand love, we are not to judge God by our feelings of what love is, but judge our feelings by who and what Jesus says and shows that love is.
Going Back To God’s Defining
Taking this all in mind, we have a proof-text, if you will, directly from God as to what love looks like. In 1 Corinthians 13, the ‘love chapter’ as some call it, has an interesting moment, far too often overlooked and underfelt:
“it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Cor. 13:6, ESV)
We love to focus on Jesus’ love as being gentle, tender, soft, and that it can be and is… it’s not unimportant to remember. But in a culture that ever pushes into the void of cultural relevance, being liked, and approved of, and not offending – we instead see a love that refuses to rejoice in evil and rejoices only in what is true.
Consider, the implication here is that love is NOT love if it lacks hatred for evil. According to the command of Romans 12:9, love is not even actual or real if it lacks this feature:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
It makes sense when you consider the final consequences of one’s deception, and if you consider this thought:
You cannot love someone and be indifferent to them proverbially hammered into the gravel with repetitive punches. If we are unbothered by what ails others, do we care about them? But, one might say, what if we are numb? But doesn’t this numbness, therefore, give us some insight into something going wrong within us?
Remembering That God is Infinite In Nature
Likewise, you cannot love God, who is truth, and you cannot love goodness if you are indifferent while it is pummeled by a world that hates it by nature. We have peace, yes, this is from God, but we also are romantic lovers who consider our great lover’s mission, aim, heart, and wants – who has rescued us from all eternal consequences.
We may have peace, but we are jealous of his truth and that people see His character. Do you often find yourself numb than not and laughing with unbelievers who trash God’s way and word? Perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you trust that these truths have eternal weight and consequence to those who reject or believe them all around you.
The world is running toward an infinite cliff – and you’re laughing?
Think about how “genuine” God’s love is… If there is no limit to the breadth and depth of God’s love, then it likewise fits to say that there is no limit to his hatred of what hinders it. He loves purely and infinitely, so it fits that he hates purely. But this is not hatred like the commoners. It is not spiteful; it is not malicious; it is wanting the best; it is doing what it must. It is just. But it IS hatred, and it is right?
Understanding the depth of what this looks like cannot be tritely and quickly spoken about, one must dig into the scriptures and truly see why there is a need for justice and why it’s so relieving and wonderful to know that there is one who fights for this and guarantees a win.
For the sake of picturing why this matters, and letting our hearts feel this, imagine, if you will, with me a grievous situation. Say a mother or father, and they’ve lost their spouse and daughter to the worst imaginable terrorizing. The culprits are caught and brought to the authorities. There is unmistakable evidence of their crimes that have now cost our person in the worst possible ways. Now, the scene turns to the judge, and he says, “Now, I am a good and loving judge and so I am going to let these people go.” Do you see? You cannot be loving and not just.
Yet consider how radical grace: God looks to us, who were the criminals in this case. And he says, I will put the punishment on another.
Do you see, you don’t trust opening up with someone from the heart without seeing that they are trustworthy and won’t hurt you, and how grievous when there is no one to trust amidst you. And then to think, God cares so much that he refuses not to let things end with safety, trust, care, genuine love, and riddance of evil for his own.
Casey is passionate about helping other Christian men in their walk with Jesus Christ. His writings on faith draws from a love of malacology, kinesiology, and quantum physics.