Last Spring a bunch of us sisters dug into 1 John and spent hours and hours listening and imagining all that the apostle John had “seen and heard and touched” concerning the Word of life. Like when you know someone who knows someone famous and you’re in awe at their ‘luck’ of meeting them and taking a picture with them. Or like when I met the Queen of Spain and presented her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her into our little developing country, Nicaragua…I was so star-struck that all I could say was “Welcome to Nicaragua, Your Majesty!” and then kissed her on both cheeks as is tradition. Then I just stared in awe of this woman of Greek-descent who was literally like one of those fairy tale stories with a crown and everything, and couldn’t say anything else, but smiled really big! The little nun who was standing next in line to me quickly bumped me out of the way as if saying, “okay little girl, my turn if that’s all you can say”. Watch out for those nuns….That’s my 5 seconds of fame! I’ve got the picture somewhere…..*oooh* where is it? I must scan it so you can laugh. I’ve got bangs, braces, blue/white suit representing the colors of the Nicaraguan flag, and cheesy WHITE pantyhose *ugh* But I can say I’ve seen, I’ve heard her voice, and I’ve touched her Majesty’s cheek and I’ll never forget that at 12 years old!
So when John said, “my eyes have seen Him, my ears have heard Him, my hands have touched Him….” I’m jealous! and I wish I had someone to picture in my head! So we began the study claiming that there were 2 themes in 1 John: love God and love others. But by the time we got halfway through, or maybe even before, we realized there was only one: love God=loving others. You can’t live out one without the other. So here’s the verse that shook me the most,
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also (1 John 5)
I tried to find an exception or righteous justification for not being *able* to do this sometimes. But it’s crystal clear. If you can’t love a brother or sister, you don’t love God. Sometimes we pray and pray and romantically beg of God, “oh God I want to love you mooore! show me!! show me!!” and it’s clear here, “then love others”. “No! but those others aren’t more important than you! I want to love you!” Honey, did you hear what I said? “Oh God! help me love you without having to deal with those people!! I just want to love you!!oh Lord this world needs your love, have you seen the news lately? ohhh! time to not do anything at all!” and we miss it by a mile.
Another vision that God showed me is that if I want to see God, I should be able to see Him when someone else is loved in His name. If I love another person in word and deed, God is manifested right then and there. I had never seen it quite like that….more of God through each other. I find God in Scripture, in nature, in music, in a poem, in pretty much anything on my own without anyone’s help– but I forget to look for Him in the desperate eyes of a hungry child, and then further in alleviating that hunger– there’s God! for me and for that child! together we see Him, but apart we cannot see Him, or only see a glimpse of Him. More of God though each other.
More of God by loving and serving another. Who are your “another’s”? do they all look like you? do they have to meet certain criteria in order for you to love them? Last week my friend Amy shared how God told her years ago to house a girl who was a drug addict, in her home. She said she felt inadequate to minister to her, but that she clearly heard God’s voice telling her to do this. So off she went housing this “other” person. The girl had never been loved like that by anybody, because she had already burnt so many bridges. Some time later she came to Christ, was mentored by someone who had walked in her shoes, got married to a believing man, and now he’s been called to be a minister…..all because Amy loved this other person. That just rocks my world and leaves me in awe. I’ve seen Him! My ears have heard Him! My hands have touched Him! Love appeared! Amy was not a liar like the verse above says! She claimed, “I love God, I hear His voice, I will obey it, and I will love this girl”. The rest is up to God. What stops us from loving? results? laziness? prejudice? flat out disobedience? complacency? envy? jealousy? anger? pride? lies?
I love this piece of song from good ol’ Ross King,
I’m thinking back to when He said the sinless shall be first to cast the stone,
so maybe….I’ll just lay these rocks of condemnation down, and that’s why Grace is
not just for me, it’s for everyone…