by Christopher Harbin

The Love Within Us
Christopher B. Harbin
1st John 3:11-20

Where does love come from? How do we nurture it? How do we make it appear where it does not seem to be present? Our notions of romance and emotional attachment often cause us to miss the realities of love in its very essence. Like the popular song, we are prone to go "looking for love in all the wrong places," when it should not be that difficult to locate. Our social and cultural definitions, however, make it difficult for us to really understand what love is about. As a result, it becomes even harder for us to find love.

Within the church we often find it hard to love one another. It is no different at home. We chafe against one another and struggle so often over issues that really don't amount to much, yet they seem important enough to cause relationships to become toxic in a hurry. It would be so much easier for us to love people if they would simply become lovable! They should treat us with the respect we deserve. They should honor our ideas. They should laugh at our jokes. They should listen to the music we like. They should share our likes and dislikes. They should understand our needs, our desires, and our intentions. They should become like us. Then we can love them.

We want to place the responsibility for love upon the actions, attitudes, and reactions of others. Yet that is not how God operates. It is not how love operates. We desperately want to loved and admired by others, but that is simply not the basis for real love. That is simply the basis for a life of selfishness and self-interest. True love must begin elsewhere. It cannot exist on the shoulders of someone else. It must rather begin with us.

I learned a song some time back that said, "I am loved; you are loved; I can risk loving you, for the One who knows me best loves me most." That is the essence of what John is getting at in his epistle. God has loved us. God has loved each one of us. God has overlooked questions of our s ...

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