“We love because [God] first loved us.”1 John 4:19
It’s good to repeatedly return to this truth from John’s first letter, to remind ourselves that the source of our own love is God’s love for us. And if the source of our love is God’s love, it follows also that our love should look like His love. In fact, Jesus says this to His disciples explicitly:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”John 13:34
One aspect of God’s love that we do well to imitate is its unconditionality. While we were sinners, Christ died for us – not waiting for us to respond or reciprocate before paying the ultimate price. To the extent that we can learn to love like this, the church becomes an amazing and transformative place – for example:
- When a newcomer first arrives, we can love them, because our love isn’t dependent on getting to know them first
- If someone upsets us, we can continue loving them while pursuing reconciliation, because our love doesn’t rest on them showing us their love
- When someone is struggling in any way, we can show them love without demanding that they be “fixed” or “pull through it” because our love is for them as they are.
This is only possible if we draw deeply on God’s unconditional love ourselves! Trying to love unconditionally without daily drawing on God’s unconditional love for us is like putting a sign outside saying “free petrol” when the tanks are dry. So, have you taken time recently to meditate on the truth of God’s unconditional love for you? Why not take time daily this week to remind yourself that Christ died for you while you were still dead in your sins, and loves you still – undiminished by your failures and not because of your successes. His love truly is amazing!