Read 1 John 4:10-11
10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. (NLT)
We so often think that our greatest task in life is to love God and then others. In fact these very great tasks are secondary to an even greater one. Which is to appreciate something of the love that God has for us. As our text reminds us, God’s love is primary. Elsewhere in this letter, John writes that we love because he first loved us.
Only as we grasp something of God’s love for us can we embark on the challenging yet necessary task of loving God and others. Only loved people can be consistently and truly loving. We recognise that we have great value in God’s sight and thus more naturally recognise the value in others. If we think little of our own worth we may not attribute much worth to others.
And recognising the good and worth in others is one way of freeing them to be more the people God made them to be. This is not blindness to their failings, but rather a decision not to focus on their failings. God certainly knows my failings but he sees beyond them to the person I might yet become in the light of his affirming love.
Harshly condemning someone for who they have failed to be, is only going to reinforce their present unhappy state. Affirming them for who they might yet become, is going to encourage them to journey on and fulfil their God-allotted destiny. This is how God loves us and so it is how we are to love others.