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. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 1 John 4:10-11
My sister told me the sweetest story about my three-year-old nephew the other day. He had been upset, so she gave him a piece of fun-sized candy. He took a bite and said, "Mmm, I like it. Do you want a bite?" Of course, she said, "No, thank you, buddy. You eat it!" She was not about to eat the rest of his small piece of candy. The fact that he was willing to share his bite-sized piece of candy with her absolutely melted my heart. It also reminded me that when we have been the beneficiaries of something good, our natural response should be to want to share it with others. If we are followers of Christ, this should be true of us. We are the beneficiaries of God's grace, the greatest gift we will ever receive. Our only natural response should be to extend that grace to those around us, especially those with whom we are in relationship.
In I John 4, John explains the grace of God shown to believers: that God sent Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. Because God loved us by showing us this grace, we, too, should show that same grace and love to the people in our lives. Showing love and grace is the only natural response to being the beneficiary of such extravagant grace.
It is easy to read this verse and think about loving people, but the truth is, loving people is not always easy. At times, it can be especially difficult to love and show grace to those whom we are in close relationship with. The truth is that we are to show everyone the same love and grace that God has shown us, and there are no exceptions. May God's great grace to us motivate us to extend grace and love to others today, even those whom we have a difficult time showing grace and love to.
Laura CourtneySagebrush Staff Writer
Is there anyone in your life who you need to extend grace to? Maybe you need to extend grace to your spouse, a family member, or a close friend who has done something that offended or wronged you. Out of the extravagant love and grace of God, take one step today to extend God's grace to that person. Maybe that step of grace is to stop giving that person the silent treatment, take them a coffee or lunch at work, or pray for them and the restoration of your relationship. Let's be people who are known for being quick to extend grace.
Read 1 John 4:7-20 (NLT)
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 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.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
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