“…if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us…” - 1 John 4:12 MSG
Love of this kind is not an impulse from concern nor is it a natural inclination. This kind of love is not a response to a bond, a relationship, fellow feelings for, understanding of, or the result of liking another person.
This kind of love looks for opportunity to be compassionate and kind with deep humility. It’s a quiet, disciplined strength with an even temperament. This love is content in second place and eager to forgive offenses.
“Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” - Colossians 3:14 MSG
We live in a ‘me first’ world where people fill their time talking about themselves. They pause from building themselves up, only to tear others down. They rationalize their humanness and dehumanize the rationale of others. They make a production of not putting on a production and make a melodrama out of the monotonous. It’s “us” versus “them” fueled by self-righteousness and self-serving bias.
“The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God…” - 1 John 4:8 MSG
Don’t make a hometown flag out of divisions based on differences. Don’t reduce your value to how great you are at being a “Christian”. Don’t let yourself be boosted by the failures of others or try to win approving nods with your incessant disapproval. A vinegar-soaked rag shoved in the mouth of the thirsty.
The only thing that sets you apart is your eye witness account of the salvation power of Jesus. Be suspicious of the one who has never suffered on the threshing floor. Be cautious of the one who’s never fallen. Flip everything you thought you knew about standing apart. This is how you know the difference between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error: It’s not that you love God, but that God loves you. It’s not what you have never done, but what Jesus has done for you.
If we love one another, we will be that “God-Sending-Christ” love in the walking around flesh. We will be that continuous expression in the right now. Only those who know God are capable of that. “What do you do about those in open sin?” Be the “Even so…” You’ve been given one task: Love others. Why would He give you a gown and gavel if you can’t get the first task right?
“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear. Fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”- 1 John 4:17-18 ESV