Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 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. 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. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4.7-11).
Love – be it of the nature of our emotion, our feelings of affection or of our will, our choosing to act kindly – requires the relationship of the lover and the beloved.
However, within this essential matrix abides an indelible dilemma. We humans are imperfect. Therefore, we never are (or can be) as practiced in our behavior as we are principled in our beliefs. We, in a word, sinfully self-interested, persistently are tempted by our own need to receive love in whatever form we desire. And, from time to time, falling prey to this temptation, we will and do judge the character of our beloved as worthy (or not) of the giving of our love.
In this (again, inescapable difficulty imbedded in our humanness), we behold the character of (and the monumental difference between ourselves and) God. God doesn’t do love. God is love, the nature of which (of Whom!) is eternal Self-surrender in the constant outpouring of unconditional benevolence.
And here abides an eternal paradox: God as Creator, possessing all power and authority to judge (condemn) us for our failings, judges (saves) us with love.
© 2021 PRA