God is love:
1 John 4:8
S O W H A T ?
Back in the day, when I was half (or even younger) my present age, a wise old man told me – regarding communicating a message- that the end result of the message should satisfy the answer to a very important two word question: So What? I think he was and is still correct today. It’s fairly clear to me that all too many Preachers preach and or pontificate. They take up a lot of people’s time with the expression of their verbiage, and what they say means absolutely N.O.T.H.I.N.G to those listening. Why? Because their message simply does not actually make a difference in the life of the person who is listening. So, they bore the listener who walks away with very little of anything to help them authentically live life.
I think this true of the statement “God is love.” Many pew sitting, hand raising, solem worshipping, pentecostal like praise worshipping or any other kind of “church goer,” may be touched by this phrase, and it may be meaningful. But I have to tell you, when I was younger, I heard this, and it really did not resonate with me. I heard this, and it didn’t mean a whole lot to me at all. I kind of thought about this like a word game. Okay, “God is love.” So, love is God. It really was not big deal to me.
So, what makes this important today? What is a potential answer to the two word question of “So What?” What is so relevant or important when it comes to this very short but potentially powerful message? Does this promise of God, “God is love,” even fit in to our 21st century mindset? Does anyone today still care how God feels about our planet, especially we who are human? I think this really does make a real difference in people’s lives around the world and in the USA.
Fathers Factored In
One of the things that makes this promise so relative comes when the Father Factor is factored in: Not everyone has or had a Dad who loves them. All too many had a Dad that was impatient, jealous, unkind, arrogant, rude and selfish. Their Dad became angered rather easily. Daddy, for them, was really diligent about keeping score of all the wrongs their children did. Then too, he may have been absent all together. They did not protect their children. As a matter of fact, they may have been the one from whom the children needed protection. They taught their children, by their own actions, that trust was something you did not do. They pretty much reared their children to feel hopeless. Their children could NOT count on them. One of the philosophies so prevalent in the lives of many children was, “Children should be seen and not heard.” So, these kids learned to isolate and be silent for their own good.
The Bad News
The bad news about this is that most form their image of God the Father from the god like figure in a child’s life. And all the things mentioned above – that virtually murder the child’s soul – get transferred to God. To hear “God is love” is not relevant to a person who had or has a Dad that resembles the male figure mentioned above. Add to “God is love” that God is “Father” and shame and guilt will come into the life of the one who thinks “God is love” is irrelevant. I recommend answering the “So What?” question here.
IF God Is Love
You see, if God is love, then the attributes of love must be the one God is. Simply put, “God is love” can also be said as Love is God. Or love is like God. Think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. Here is the passage that describes, in great detail, love in action. To help heal the person, who experienced a less than perfect Dad, I recommend that a person simply read the passage, but use “God” in place of the word “love.” Then ask them to read it slowly out loud, to themselves, while they sit relaxed in a comfortable place where they feel safe. Here is how this will sound: God is patient. God is kind. God does not envy. God is not boastful or arrogant. God is not rude. God is not selfish. God doesn’t keep records of your wrongs because, in Christ, all wrongs are simply forgiven. God isn’t happy when bad evil things happen. But God celebrates the truth that sets you free. God protects you. God trusts you. God gives you hope. He sticks with you. God will never fail you.
Back to the two word question: So What? Reflecting on the “love chapter” of the Bible this way is important. Just thinking about God being love, and habitually reading this information over and over, can potentially transform a broken life. It really can empower a person to help pick up the pieces of a shattered or difficult childhood. It can help heal them in many ways; it especially provides a way to heal a wounded perception of God. And it can actually heal their relationship with God. Why? Because “God IS Love!” GOD REALLY IS LOVE! Hallelujah!