“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:8–10).
God sent his Son. Why? As a demonstration of God’s love for us, not only through his birth, life and teachings, but ultimately through his death. Why? So that we might live through him. God loved us, not because we loved God but because God is love! God cannot not love because love is who God is!
Love never seeks to harm others. Love instead always and only acts in ways to bring about what is best for others. If God is love, then the following must be true…
God is patient; God is kind; God is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. God does not insist on God’s own way; God is not irritable or resentful; God does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God never fails (cf. 1 Cor 13:4-8a). I didn’t make this up. Paul wrote it almost 2000 years ago!
Such love as God demonstrates in sending his Son is completely inconsistent with any and all acts of violence. Acts of violence are designed and carried out in order to bring physical, emotional and/or spiritual harm to others. Therefore, violence and love are incompatible; in fact, they are opposites.
Love would lead one to suffer and/or even sacrifice one’s self rather than see harm be inflicted upon others. Isn’t that the love that God demonstrated in sending his Son into the world? While we were still sinners, Paul writes, Christ died for us! Jesus called his followers to love their enemies. Why? Because God sends his rain on the righteous and the unrighteous, Jesus said. God so loved the world that God gave his one and only Son that we might have everlasting life.
God cannot not love! God cannot not act in ways that strive to bring about what is best in our lives. This is the God in whom I trust. It is the Son of this God, who is love, that I have been inspired to follow all these years, and for as many more years as I might have.