This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10 (New Living Translation)
We can be tricked into believing so many different things about love. Humans have failed at love so often and with such magnitude that it can seep in and color our perception of true, pure love. Our first loves can break our hearts. Our experiences with parental and family love can leave us wounded, and cause us to have a distorted view of love. We may have been betrayed by friendship love, and have scars from many different things that have carried the label of love. But if we push all those thoughts aside, if we can let go of every bad example of love we have ever seen, if we can step back and focus on one love, one true and pure love, we could see a perfect love. The love of Jesus.
To be honest, I have really struggled with embracing God’s love. You would think love would be something everyone would desire and want to embrace, but for me, it seemed available to everyone but me. It would break my heart to talk to people who rejected God’s love; I thought about how that must break His heart. But somehow I was exempt from that, either from feeling too sinful to accept His love, or from feeling like God was obligated to love me because of the death of Jesus. I felt that Jesus died for me, so now He HAS to love me! I’ve felt like an obligation to God far too long. I would apologize for being such a burden to Him all the time.
But the truth is, He chose me. If I am a burden to Him…which by the way, we don’t see anywhere in the Bible that God suffers a bad back from carrying us, but let’s just hypothetically say that I am a burden…I’m a burden He chose. He chose to die for me. He made a way for me to be in relationship with Him because He WANTED me. And He WANTS you too. Ask God to let that truth sink in and become so real to you that it forever changes how you perceive Him and how you view His love for you. It is not an ancient, outdated love, but a very real and personal love. And it is available to YOU.
You might want to read from John, especially chapters 14-17 (it is my favorite of the gospels and has a lot to say about love). I also encourage you to read 1 John (at the very least chapters 3 and 4) and, of course, 1 Corinthians 13, dubbed the “Love Chapter.”