1 John 4

God is always first in everything. He takes the initiative. The only reason you can love God or anybody else is because God first loved you. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to Earth to die for you. He showed that love by creating you. He showed that love by giving you everything you have in life. We love because God first loved us.  If you want to learn how to love other people, you’ve got to first understand and feel how much God loves you. When you feel that unconditional love, you’re going to start cutting people a lot of slack. You’re not going to be as angry as you’ve been in the past. You’re going to be more patient. You’re going to be more forgiving. You’re going to be more merciful. You’re going to show other people grace.  The reason why you see people who are judgmental, sarcastic, angry, self righteous, and always putting other people down is because they’re putting themselves down. They don’t feel good about themselves. They don’t feel loved. They don’t feel forgiven. They don’t feel grace. They feel guilty. They feel bad about themselves. And if they feel bad about themselves, they certainly don’t want you feeling good about you.  Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you’ve been hurt by parents or peers or partners. Maybe you’ve been abused or misused or rejected or abandoned or betrayed. You’ve got some scars on your heart.  You cannot give to others what you have not received yourself. Unlovely people are unloved people. Hurt people hurt people. If you’re filled with anger and impatience and you don’t feel loved, guess what? You’re not going to be able to love anybody else. You have to learn how much God loves you and let it heal your heart so his love can flow through you. It is impossible to love others until you really feel loved yourself.  The Bible says, “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16a). Do you know the love of God? Do you rely on the love of God for you? You will have a hard time loving other people until you have God’s love coming through you.  Talk It Over  Would you say that you love others with the love of God? How do you show that love to others? Why would understanding God’s love help you show grace to others? What hurt from your past is keeping you from accepting God’s love and showing it to others?

Bible Passage:  1 John 4

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

~ 1 John 4:9

Such a simple statement.

Yet such a profound statement that makes us stop and wonder…

How do we love Him?

Do we love Him?

In what what do we show we love Him?

This verse reminds us that God is always first in everything.

Not only is He the Creator, the Alpha and the very First…

He takes the initiative in everything.

The only reason why we can love God or anybody else is simply because God first loved us.

While we were sinners, evil and had nothing to do with God’s holiness, purity and haven of love, God sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world to die for us so that we can be reconciled with Him.

While we were still undeserving, He took the first step.

While we pushed Him away, He waited patiently.

He showed His love by giving you everything you have in life.

The Bible tells us that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)

We love because God first loved us.

That is the basis of our love.

God’s love.

So if we want to learn how to love other people, we must first acknowledge how much God loves us and understand what this love is all about.

Only when we understand this unconditional love can we love others, forgive them and show mercy to them.

Only when we have truly experienced this love can we be more patient, less judgmental, more merciful, less angry ….

Why are there bitter, angry, self righteous, sarcastic people in the world?  Because they do not feel loved. It is because they have never experienced the kind of love Jesus shows on us each and every day.

The command is clear.

Since we have experienced this love of Jesus, now it is time for us to go out and show others His love in us.

Are we doing that today?

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