“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
God is all about relationships. It’s what sets Him apart. We see this when God creates Eve because it’s not good for man to be alone. We see this when He calls Jesus His beloved son…and again when He allows that same son to die on the cross to make atonement, or payment, for our sins so that we can be in right standing with Him. Because, you see, our sinful selves can’t exist in the presence of holiness—and God is the epitome of holiness—and so we’ve caused this HUGE gap to exist between us and God.
But, get this, He loves us so much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Not once we’d gotten our act together. Not once we’d given enough money to the church. Not once we’d endured enough self-imposed punishment.
While we were still sinners. And now that we’re back in a place of right standing with God, a good place, He’s in the process of making us more like Him. And this means being about relationships. Which takes interacting with people. And loving them. And maybe even liking them.
Little kids are good at this. They just go right up to other kids on the playground and start chattering away. Next thing you know, they’re best buds and running around, pushing each other on the swing and sharing sticky snacks. Kids are good at loving us, too, even if we’ve been grouchy and yelled and not shared our snacks. At the end of the day when we say I’m sorry, they are all about forgiveness, neck-breaker hugs, wet kisses, and I love you.
God wants us to be like this. He wants us to love Him back fiercely and then to love others just as much. That’s it. Strike up a new friendship and play nicely in the sandbox. When we do that, others will see and come over and want to join the action.
What can you do to show God you love Him?
What can you do to show love to others?
For more verses on interacting with others, read Matthew 5:13-16 and 43-48.
Father, I love you. Thank you for loving me first and for reaching out to me even when I was such a mess…still am at times. Help me to love others the way you love me.