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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Today’s Reading | 1 John 3:18–24

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. (NRSV)

As Christians, we hear a lot about the importance of love. This passage operationalizes the concept and emphasizes the necessity of loving.

A statement I often share with couples I work with and need to remind myself of is “the goal is not to be right; it is to love well.” Living a faithful life is all about loving well, and loving well is about action and behavior. This passage acknowledges that our own thinking, self-judgments, and second-guessing may get in the way of really loving well. It reassures us that in the midst of our “monkey brain chatter,” God will know and see our intentional acts of love.

As Augustine said, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of people.” Again, when I think of helping couples improve their relationships, their felt sense of loving and being loved resides in the moments of loving behavior between them. If we recall when we have felt loved, we will most likely recall a moment where there was a loving interaction.

This passage ends with the directive to believe in Jesus, who is our ultimate example of love in action, and to love one another. Let’s set our intention to act out love today. What can we do to create those moments where love will be experienced because of something we did?

Dear Jesus, help me love well today. Help me get out of my head, use my God-given creativity and resourcefulness, and create through my actions those moments where love happens. Thank you for modeling this so powerfully for me in the loving ways you lived and died. Amen.

Written by Tom Schemper,
Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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