What I’m Thinking: Love One Another

The Bible contains many passages that are difficult to understand or confusing (there are a lot of reasons for that). This section of the First Letter of John, however, might be the clearest and most straightforward of all: Love one another.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fourth chapter of the First Letter of John. This may be the single simplest and most straightforward message found in a passage of the Scriptures. The message? Well: Because God loved us so much, we ought to love one another.

Earlier in the letter, John made clear that love, for him, was not a matter of emotion or expression. Love was a matter of how we treat one another. One is supposed to love in deeds and in actions; it’s not just supposed to be about words and thoughts.

John went on in chapter four to say that there is a connection between the way we love one another and our love for God. If somebody claimed to love God but did not love their neighbor, John wrote, then they’re lying. Because how can you love someone you haven’t seen – God – if you can’t love somebody that you have?

Well, truthfully, I have known a lot of situations where people who knew each other well did not act in a loving way toward one another. I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. It happens. Domestic violence is a terrible scourge upon our society, our families, our entire culture, and it is precisely the failure to love someone whom you see every day that makes domestic violence so appalling.

Nevertheless, John has a point, that it is easier in some ways to love someone who is nearby than it is to love someone at a distance. Someone who is nearby, someone with whom you’re acquainted will tell you or show you those things that make loving real. That is, what expressions of love are appropriate for them, what will actually help them, what will actually make them know that your intent is to love them. It’s harder to do that when folks are at a distance. It’s harder to do that with God.


As John makes clear, God has told us – and yes, told us directly and simply – that at least one way that God wants us to show our love is by loving God’s people.

If you want to love God, love those human beings that God has made.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on April 26, 2021

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