As we move further into 2019, what message would you want to share with your loved ones, friends, and, if you had the chance, the world? What message would remind people that love is the answer? What message could inspire people to double-check their attitudes toward people they perceive not as different, for being different neutral, but rather as people they perceive as mooches, hangers-on, not qualified to receive the same level of help (or more help) than they? What message could inspire people to think of no one as “other” and everyone as “us” and “we”? What message could mute the negative aspects of the use of “them” and “us”?
One such message is found in 1 John 4.7-21. Copied from www.biblegateway.com, it is included below. Although 1 John was written for a Christian audience, its message that God is love is a universal one.
I look forward to seeing you soon! Perhaps this passage will lead to some great conversations.
“1 John 4:7-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love[a] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,[b] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[c] whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.”
Rev Jim Sinclair
Pastor Jim is the minister for First United Baptist Church