Choosing to Love
Today’s post is an excerpt from our upcoming book, Eyewitness, which is a Bible study of 1, 2, 3 John written by Crystal Colp, Jacki Kachner, Erin Lehmann and Alice Park.
We hope you enjoy this powerful reflection on 1 John 4:7-8 about loving others…
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8.
I think it is important for us to be transparent. So, let’s be honest… And, if we are going to be honest, let’s just come clean and say that loving people is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it is very, very hard. It does not always come naturally to us. Sometimes it is a choice or an act of obedience.
My grandmother, who I called Memommie, grew up as an orphan. Her mom died soon after giving birth to her, and her father died just as she was turning two. Memommie lived with a cousin for a while; then, as the years went by she lived in others’ homes, going from house to house until she met and married my granddaddy. As they began a family of their own, she made a conscious decision that her children and every generation following would grow up knowing what it was to be a part of a family—loved, and treasured. Memommie made a choice to live in direct contrast to the world she grew up in. She had many unanswered questions in her life, and she spent many lonely days, but the one thing she never did was decide not to love. She very well could have grown bitter from her life experience, but instead she grew beyond her experience to become one of the most loved and most loving women I have ever known. If you stepped foot in her home or within reach of her arms, you knew you were loved.
Before my husband and I were married, he came home from college with me and we went to Memommie and Granddaddy’s house for lunch on Sunday. When we left, Memommie hugged him and told him she loved him. He was a bit taken back by that. He told me later that his thought was she didn’t really know him, how could she love him? I explained to him that Memommie did not have to know him. It was enough that I loved him, for her to love him. I think this is what Jesus and John are trying to get across. We should love others because Jesus loves them. That should be enough.
Memommie loved without boundaries—it was not work for her, but a choice she made, every day, to live the life she had chosen many years before—one of love for everyone! She did this because, though she lived without an earthly family, God was that family. He was her mother, her father, her sustainer. Because He loved her and because He loved others, she would love them too. As she did the hard part of wanting to love, the “how to love” came easily. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. Memommie literally fed and clothed His sheep, but more often than not she just provided a sense of family and love for everyone she touched!
It required a lot of her energy, sometimes energy she did not have, and she often went to bed tired from a long day of cooking, serving, and having people in her home. Sometimes she was taken advantage of; sometimes her love was not reciprocated, but that did not deter her. Her love was not based on how much the other person loved her. Her love was based on how much God loved them. —Crystal
Crystal’s Memommie chose to give from what she had received in relationship with Christ. In 1 John 4:7-8, we see that we cannot give what we have not first received, nor share with others what we haven’t experienced.
Eyewitness and another study by Crystal, Jacki, Erin and Alice, Enough: A Study on the Book of Colossians, will be released July 1 and will be available at the Warner Press website and retailers nationwide and online.