Paul in chapter 13 of his first letter to the Corinthians writes a revolutionary description of love. He says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Now I could go on and on about how we should treat those we love in such a way, especially our families, but that is pretty basic. “Even the pagans do that,” Jesus said. No, as Christians we are to love everyone, even our enemies. Meditate on that a moment. Can you even imagine trying to treat your worst enemy in such a way? I fail in that regard all the time. That isn’t what I wanted to talk about today though.
In the first letter of John, he tells us that, “God is love.” A much used, but seldom applied verse. So if God is love, then according to Paul God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor other, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.
Does this sound like your idea of God? It pretty much eliminates the possibility of the wrathful, judgmental, even blood-thirsty image of God that so many people have. He is so much better than we imagine, or even can imagine. God’s love is perfect and unconditional and so far above our limited ideas of what love can even be. That’s what Jesus tried to tell us, and we killed him for it. How could we have missed it? He wants to pour His love and His grace, upon us and we just can’t stand it. He must construct limits to God; we give rules and laws to His love. We can’t love unconditionally so how can God? We are so used to having to earn love from others so naturally we think we would have to earn God’s love, but we don’t. That is the gospel. That is the good news. God is better than we ever dreamed. He loves us freely and just wants us to do the same.