Real Relationships: 1 John 4:7-12
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
- 1 John 1:11
Do you ever get the feeling that we are all just going through the motions? Do you ever get the feeling that, especially in our relationships, we have become mechanical and fake? In our fast-paced world that provides for us a myriad of ways in which we can spend our time, does it ever seem like we’re just too distracted to really pay attention to one another? Does it ever seem like Real Love and Real Relationships are just more work that we really care to put forth? And so it is perhaps one of the great ironies of our time that, with a host of social networks at our fingertips, we are some of the lonliest people on the planet.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that the cure isn’t to be found in social media or our online personas. Only in Jesus can we find the cure that we are looking for.
As we take time to watch Jesus in the Gospels and see how He loves people and how He has loved us, we will find the key to Real Relationships. In 1 John, the apostle has already told us that Jesus is the pattern of our love (1 John 3:16) so in 1 John 4:7-12 John continues to encourage us to love others as Jesus has loved us. More specifically, John urges us to love sacrificially.
It’s another great irony, isn’t it? That the secret to being filled up isn’t to hoard the gifts of God. The secret to relational fulfillment is giving. It’s listening. It’s waiting. It’s watching. It’s taking our minds off of what we need or what we’re going to say next and focusing on someone else.
What’s more, it’s not about getting something in return or only loving those who are lovable. Jesus loved you and me, even when we were dreadful sinners. Loving like Jesus, then, is about loving one another even in our imperfections. It’s about loving one another despite the fact that we constantly have food on our face. It’s about loving, not the idea of another person, but the person herself.
Real Relationships start and end with Jesus. He has loved us with a beautiful, divine, sacrificial love. Therefore, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).