1 John 4:7-21
God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
People are often expecting God to show up in some mystical, magical, way. And while sometimes God does appear in very mysterious ways, most of the time, God shows up through the actions and care of another human being. When we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out to someone or to give the gift of our time to another, we are representing God. Listen to how mentors in our church are doing just that.
By Katie Bonner, Director of Care Ministries
For the past 3 years, I have had the incredible gift of coordinating our Big Hope mentoring ministry with Ponder Elementary (where students, "Littles," are matched with mentors, "Bigs," and meet for one hour, once a week, through the school year). I have also been a mentor or a "Big" to my "Little" for the past six years.
While each story is unique and beautiful, what they all have in common is the power of presence, the gift of time and choice, and so much love. Each of our mentors chooses to see and visit their Little every week. They offer the gift of their presence and friendship as they spend time with their Little, and they show love in all they do. It is the blessing of one person choosing to see, love, and be present with another.
Who among us does not value being on the receiving end of someone who chooses to see us, to know us, to be present with us, to love us?
In 1 John 4:12, John writes, "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” When we choose to see, know, be present with, and love another person, we are showing them the love of God.
Have you ever wondered how we change the world? This is how it’s done, friends. By being fully present with one person consistently, over time, we are the representation of God. I know it’s a big responsibility, and we will mess it up from time to time. But it is what we are called to do if we choose to follow Jesus.
God, make me an instrument of your grace in the world. Show me how to be a servant to others in big and small ways. Bring people into my life who will love me unconditionally and help guide me with your wisdom. Give me a community where I may grow deeper in love with you and others. Show me the areas where I need to adapt, grow and mature, and let your Holy Spirit guide me on the path toward a deeper faith. Thank you for your daily grace and mercy. In the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Guide, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.