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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Graber

I love Jesus Because He First Loved Me

Hurtful words that led to a fight between me and a family member caused me to feel hurt and angry for several days. I took my petition about the situation to God, and as usual, I told God how I wanted the situation handled and to absolve me of my sin without consequence, of course. Naturally, things didn't go how I planned, and if you've tried this, you know what I'm talking about: a lesson is coming from the Almighty.

See, God also loves and created the family member who hurt me, and perhaps you know that old saying, "It takes two to tango." So, I was not vindicated, my righteousness was not Godly, and the bad feeling I held onto led to a teary breakdown instead of what should have been an immediate apology. I was not being loving like Jesus at all.

Jesus teaches us to love like God. The Bible shows us how Jesus lived and loved. This is supposed to be the model for God's followers. If we love God, if we are faithful and true to God, then we should behave as God wants us to behave. Fortunately, God sent Jesus for those of us (me) who are imperfect but still seek the love of God.

John 4: 16-21 says,

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sisters.

That second passage really hits me: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or a sister is a liar. Ouch! Being called a liar hurts.

Like a wound, if I let my hurt and anger fester, forgiving is harder. The faster I forgive, the sweeter things are. The longer I hold a grudge, the more miserable I am. The other person probably doesn't care or really know what they did or even know they are at fault. That's happened before. Here I am, being miserable and downtrodden, and the other person is like, "What's up with her? Miss cranky pants..."

A couple of weeks ago, I snapped at Julie about something she said. We were going into a meeting, and I wasn't able to make immediate apologies for my behavior. Julie got pulled into someone else's office, so I got back to our office before she did. When she got back, I was doing the potty dance. I blurted, "I'm so sorry about my harsh words. That was totally uncalled for! Please forgive me!"

Julie gave me a deer in the headlights look and said, "It's okay. I'd forgotten about it. We're okay."

Whew! That was a close one.

Instead, I need to be intentional about choosing love...and my words. James 1:19 instructs, "You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry" (NLT). Each morning when I get up, I choose how the day is going to go. God gives us free will, but He wants us to chose Him. Sometimes I have cloudy moments like my snap a couple of weeks ago, but I don't like to be in the dark; I choose to live in the light of God. I love Jesus because he first loved me. He gave his life to wipe away my sins. I love that God loved me and my neighbor so much, God gave his son to be sacrificed for our sins. God's second most important command: Love. Each. Other!

Last week, Pastor shared the chorus of this song, and a few of the stanzas remind me of the scripture passages in John 4, so I'm sharing the link to "Get Together" by the Youngbloods. I hadn't really looked at the lyrics until I got into writing this blog post, and if you haven't listened to this classic in a while, take some time to really focus on the lyrics.




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