Shepherd Elie Hamuli
Romans 5:6-8 [NLT]
1 John 4:7-12
A popular verse known amongst believers and non-believers says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” [John 3:16 NKJV]. Many know it, but a few have internalized it. The reason is that the world is broken, and the existence of true love seems impossible. Moreover, there is an impression that love needs to be earned, and there needs to be a reason for someone to express love. Over time we end up struggling to accept that someone can love us due to the belief that love has to be conditional, which then extends to how we perceive God’s love. We stay away from love because of the fear of heartbreak, especially after an experience that shattered us.
Essentially, we fail to embrace love because we are afraid of being vulnerable and feel the need to protect ourselves from people seeing a weakness in us and exploiting it. Love then becomes difficult to enjoy because of insecurities. Sometimes, we shut ourselves off from love because we fear that we might not be able to reciprocate the love back – fear of hurting others. It becomes difficult to entertain the idea of love because of mistrust – knowing the motives behind someone’s love- and not appear to be naïve.
Like the cloud does not negate the sun’s existence, love exists despite the hurt. One of the remarkable characteristics of love is selflessness, and Jesus perfectly displayed it on the cross. When we read the scriptures, we see that the magnitude of God’s love is immeasurable, directed to every individual, and consistent. Understanding God’s love convinces us that we are accepted and not just tolerated, giving us a better understanding of patience. The Bible says that “God is love”, meaning He has personified a concept that seems farfetched to many. So, love is no longer a ‘what’ but a ‘who’. Moreover, since He is love, anything called ‘love’ apart from Him is counterfeit. Thus, we need God to be able to love; otherwise, we risk fulfilling selfish ambitions in the name of ‘love’.
The Bible also gives certain characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13. The chapter is a baseline for love regardless of who we are giving it to; however, since we share different relationships with people, the dynamic might differ, but the principle remains. Our background influences how we perceive, give, and receive love. Sometimes our desire to show love comes from a genuine place, but it would always fall short if it is not aligned with God’s love.
So, our love for Him is a response. Hence, if we have not experienced His love, we cannot respond or give it fully. By receiving His love, we can respond accordingly; otherwise, we will only be pretending to love God because we are surrounded by people who love Him. And something amazing about the love of God is that it quenches our thirst and longing for fulfilment, allowing us to love others selflessly and unconditionally. When we are not satisfied with the love of God, we search for many things to become place holder, but they never satisfy. It is difficult to give what we have not received or are not aware of. We can only give and receive it properly once we know and understand what love is.
That is why Jesus told the woman at the well [John 4: 13-14], Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The love of God is felt by others through us that profess to be children of God, but we first must experience it. We need to believe that God is not against us. God is fair and equal in the way He loves everyone. Often when someone is experiencing a season of favour, it may appear as if they are more loved than others. But the truth is that God’s love is the same for everyone; what makes the difference is how it is seen in our lives. We may shut down the idea and fail to believe that true love exists because of our past experiences and hurt, but He has come to heal our hearts from brokenness and give us a fresh perspective on what love really is.
Thank you for Your Word that says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that ‘whoever’ believes”.
Thank you because you said whoever, which means I qualify.
Thank you that I am included and not rejected.
Thank you that in your love, you did not choose but came for everyone.
Even before I thought of you, you came for me when I had no reason to be loved.
Thank you that you are filling my heart with your love and you are restoring me.
And wherever there was brokenness, your love is here to heal.
I won’t have to run after many things to fill me because your love satisfies me.
Thank You that I will not be chasing after man’s acceptance because, in You, I am accepted and included in Your kingdom.
Thank you that your love sets me free, and by it, I can see and experience you as my perfect Father.
Thank you for your unconditional love; it heals every wound in me.
Thank you Father for Your perfect love in Jesus Christ name.