1 John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Love is a four letter word, but its meaning expanded beyond the text in a dictionary. Someone once said love is one of the greatest, if not, the greatest force on earth that enable someone to do something beyond what they can, for example, the love of a mother for her baby, or couples in love. No other theme has filled the pages of our drama, literature, shows, movies more than Love. But if Love is such a great force, why is there so much struggle to love? And why Love is still such a misunderstood feeling and word that human beans are unable to get it right?
On the other hand, within the religious community be it the Church and others, exist two ends of the extreme, where one is a message dominated by love and some, an extreme hatred that is almost demonic in nature. But what does it actually mean when God in His Word 1 John 4:8 says exclusively to love is to know God because He is love?
A few years ago, I came to know a few nice people within Singapore that got into a movement that brought a certain doctrine into the church scene that romanticizes Christianity and it was a very attractive Christian message, for who doesn’t need a bit more love? After all, the prevalent Christian atmosphere is extremely appealing to the emotions and driven to please our human nature of self-indulgence that culminated in a narcissistic self? I felt trouble but was unable to put my finger on the main issue. It was only recently when I was asking God to give me a new love, which I desire more than gifts of tongues or knowledge that I was led to think deeper into this issue of Love within the Christian community. Yes, there was a change in me towards people which I used to abhor, and there is now a love for them I could not understand, and God is faithful, for which Father will give a serpent to their children and not good gifts? I desire to love because if I cannot love those around me, how could I say I love God?
The problem today is elevating love above God. To say God is love is to understand the nature of God. God personify and define Love in a manner that goes beyond what our nature can actually deliver. Adding to this complication is our sinful nature and a culture of pervasive wickedness that we define love in a somehow warped sense that fell short of God’s standard. God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). On the other hand, when Christian elevated Love above God, Love became our god (idolatry). That was the main issue that finally made sense to that conundrum many years ago when the Christian message was so romanticized that it deviates from God’s character. When Love became the god of our message, we follow the laws and commandments of what love demanded which are sovereign apart from God’s and that is a subtle draw of idolatry.
God is love, but God is also God of many things such as Just, Holy, Sovereign, etc. And I pray that I can love, not for the sake of love, but for the sake of knowing an important aspect of who God is. My motivation is not to excessively show affection but to know this God who personify Love.