If we relate to people, we will eventually be upset, disapprove of something, or disagree with someone. It’s part of life! We are imperfect. What we need to understand is that instead of reacting to these situations of disagreement with our sinful instinct. That is, instead of losing reason, anger or resentment, we must choose to love. We need to respond to circumstances in a wise and balanced way, as people healed and well resolved in the Father.
Love is a choice
John 15:9 –As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
John 15:16 – You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Jesus, throughout the entire 15th chapter of the book of John, invites us to abide in his love. What does that mean? It means that his love does not change, it will always be the same. It is as if he said, “My love is here available, I have loved you. Now it is up to you to remain in this love.”
In verse 16 he says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” This indicates that Jesus CHOSEN us in love. In the Bible, the action of “CHOOSING” is what makes love possible. God, through Jesus, chose to love us. And we validate the sacrifice and love of Jesus for us, when we choose Him as Lord of our lives.
Choose to LOVE
When we choose to live God’s love for us, though we are imperfect, we are invited to live the perfect love in all areas of our lives (with our family, spouse, friends, and fellow believers). And this is possible, for as it is written in 1 John 4:19, we love because He first loved us.
The more we experience the love of God and relate to the Father, the more we become capable of choosing love people. Although they are different from us, they think differently from us. Although they hurt us, fail us or disappoint us.
Perfect love drives out fear
When we choose to love, despite the differences, we create an environment of secure relationships. Where people can be themselves. They will not be afraid to be reproved. They will know that they will not fail to be loved for expressing who they really are, for opening their hearts or exposing their weaknesses. We, as the church of Christ, need to promote this secure environment of love and freedom.
1 John 4:18 – 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.
This verse has several applications: in the context of the chapter the verse may be applied to us no longer being afraid of condemnation because when we stand in the perfect love of Christ we are assured of salvation. And this verse also refers to the environment of love between people. The verse says that fear implies punishment. In an insecure environment, where there is judgment, people are afraid to be reproved, to stop being loved, to be excluded.
But where there is the love that God expects of us, which is perfect, fear is expelled. People feel free to open their hearts in an authentic and sincere way. And who does not like walking around honest and true people?
Be an agent that promotes freedom. Our ministry, our church and our small groups need to be a place of trust. Stop just reacting, condemning and judging. Change the reactions of judgment and condemnation for the PERFECT LOVE, which always chooses to love, regardless of what happened.
Text based on the book “Keep Your Love On” by Danny Silk from Bethel Church.