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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 John 4:7–16

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 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. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (NRSV)

Growing up there was one girl at school that I dreaded being in classes with. Our last names were close together, so seating charts would have us sitting near each other often. She was my bully and I tried my best to avoid her, usually unsuccessfully. One day in Sunday School I was complaining of my latest torment and the teacher told me I must pray for her and show her love and remember she too is a beloved child of God. I’m pretty sure my reaction would have been similar to the way I’d react if he had just started speaking in tongues. How could I love someone who made school a miserable experience for me?

Now I would like to tell you I figured out how to show her love, that we somehow became best friends and lived happily ever after. But I did pray and, over years of reflection, came to the realization that her bullying had more to do with her own insecurities that anything to do with me. I have wondered, from time to time, if I had been able to take to heart what my Sunday School teacher said, if I had been able to show her more love in the moment, would we have become better friends? And if my love for her had not made us better friends, would it have at least made me more understanding instead of hurt by her insults?

God shares with us a love that is almost impossible to fathom, to sacrifice his only son for us. How do we honor this sacrifice? We are called to love one another, not just our friends and families, but everyone. Because we are all beloved children of God.

God, give me the strength to show others your unceasing love. Remind me to see your face in the strangers I meet and everyone I interact with. Thank you for your never ending love and mercy. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Youth Mission Coordinator

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