We say “we love you” a lot this time of year. There is something about Mother’s, caring women in our lives, grandma’s, big sisters or other women we respect that it seems the only right words to express this time of year to honor and show gratitude are, “we love you.” Yet, we all know mothers aren’t perfect. We could probably spend just as much time reflecting on the pain and disappointment we have experienced in our families as well. However, in the best of situations, a mother’s love is a great picture of gospel love.
“What makes true or perfect love?”
John wrote to those unsure of their salvation to have confidence they can know the love of God. With such a seemingly hard thing to quantify, John wrote to give confidence you can know you are a follower of Jesus. Have you ever wondered, am I really a follower of Jesus? Read 1 John. Tucked in the 4th chapter is an incredible short statement on love.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19
What do we learn about love?
Perfect love expels fear
We see this twisted in some movies or books when love is seen as dangerous, violent, manipulative, or even at times abuse and bullying is romanticized. This is not love. Think of a place you feel safe, often that is where love is found. This is why Mother’s Day is a great time to celebrate the women who have loved us well by supporting us and helping push fear out of our lives. Perfect love expels fear. In this context John is saying because of God’s love demonstrated in Jesus we can have, “confidence on the day of judgement.” The Christian who lives in God’s love can anticipate the judgment day confidently, and not with terror. Sin leads to fear, but living in God’s love leads to confidence. There is a fear that leaves us afraid, and a fear that speaks to reverence because of position. John is saying there is no place to be afraid or in terror when we are close to God. That fear for judgement is cast out because of what Jesus has done for us.
Perfect love initiates
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19
This is the gospel, God initiated. Jesus left the glory of heaven behind and conquered death for us. He has demonstrated his love, has taken the first step. A mother’s love for her newborn on the surface seems completely irrational. Late nights, exhaustion, disrupted professional plans, expensive and on and on. Yet, we see her love because she initiates knowing this is her choice. In a much larger and grander way Jesus does the same thing perfectly. He irrationally initiates with us. He loved first. He initiated.
This brings freedom.
When I know how much I am loved, then I am free to love. Have you taken a risk, initiated with pure motives expecting nothing in return? Do you love, care for and remain patient with others who have nothing to offer you? This is Jesus love. This is not easy.
Mother’s Day is awesome, is hard, it may bring fantastic or terrifying memories. In Jesus we are fully loved. We can express love not because our moms deserve it, but because God loves us fully and we can overflow towards others. When we are grateful for this gospel truth and embrace it, we are filled with boldness. When we are grateful, we are most fully alive.
Q. Do I love/care for others without concern for what I “get” in return?
Q. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and consider how others focused love is. How can I live more like that this week in my daily relationships?