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February 1, 2009

“God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”  (1 John 4:8b,9)

A while back I read about a couple that celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  Both were in their 80’s and great-grandparents.  Frank had lost much of his hearing.  Bessie had some physical problems.  And yet this couple was still getting along together and celebrating this great anniversary.  Their family had come from all over and had enjoyed celebrating together through the midmorning into the afternoon.  Finally, toward sundown, all the family went home.

Bessie and Frank decided to walk out on to the front porch and sit down on the swing and watch the sunset.  The old gentleman pulled his tie loose and leaned back and didn’t say much.  Bessie looked at him somewhat in wonder and said to him, “You know, Frank, I’m real proud of you.”  The old gentleman turned and looked at her rather quizzically and after a moment said, with a puzzled look on his face, “Well, Bessie, I’m real tired of you too!”

Someone once said to me, “How can God love us?  We’re such icky people.  And how are we suppose to love icky people?”  I’m not sure about the word “icky” but it is a good question.

Tucked into the end of 1 John 4:8 is this statement, “God is love.”  If we want to understand love we have to begin with God.

Love is an attribute of God.  At the core of who God is, His very nature and essence, God is love.  It’s like an ocean.  The ocean is wet.  How could an ocean be anything but wet?  God is love.

When God created creation He created love.  Along with all the physical things of creation are feelings, attitudes, and emotions.  There would be no love in creation if God hadn’t created it.  God is the source of love.  If we want to understand love we have to look to God.

Which makes great theology.  But is a little hard to wrap our minds around practically.  So, John goes on in verse 9, “By this the love of God was revealed…”

It’s not just that God is love - the definition.  But that God is loving.  God is the demonstration of love.  Actions speak louder than words.

Whenever God acts He always acts with love.  Even in judgment, or punishment, or when we wonder what God is doing (the times when He’s silent) God always acts with love.  Because at the core of what makes God God, God is love and so God is loving - always demonstrating what love is.

What’s it like to be a sinner?  Well, we all can answer that one.  What’s it like to live in world of sinners?  Another easy answer.

We live separated from God.  Separated from His holiness.  We’re lost, alone, burdened, weighed down with guilt, and struggling to find answers.  Even as believers we know how true Paul’s words are, “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Romans 7:19).  We stain ourselves with the blood of Jesus the only begotten Son of God.  We stain ourselves over and over again with sin.

Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  God demonstrates His love.  God, through Jesus Christ, offers us hope, purpose, restoration, and abundant life now and life forever with Him.  Not because we deserve it.  But, because God is love and God is loving.   God loves icky people like us.

Anyone else struggle with that?  When we get past our egos and all the things we cover our inner selves with.  When we get down to the core of who we are.  How could God love me?

Have you ever been asked why you love someone?  Why do you love your wife?  Or husband?  Or kids?  Or grandkids?  Or, you name the person?  Beyond, its the way they wear their hair or they smell nice, its hard to put the reason we love someone into words.

God loving us is something this side of heaven we’ll never understand.  Yet, God reassures us with His actions that He does.  When you feel icky hold on to His love.