We only catch a brief glimpse of God’s love as it passes us, hidden in a rock crevice. Our ability to offer and receive love, which is frequently based on human selfishness, limits how much we can really grasp love. This is why the Apostle Paul asks for divine revelation so that we can understand God’s unfathomable love, which is something that is largely beyond our comprehension.
God desires to challenge our constrained understandings of love and help us view things from His vantage point. “Greater love has no one than this, that he offers up his life for his friends,” He says, describing love as a sacrifice.“If you love Me, you will obey My commandments,” He says while discussing love in relation to obedience. He says, “If you say you love God and hate your brother, you are a liar and the love of God is not in you.” He also says that we should love everyone, including those who have wronged us.
Too often, we find it simpler to identify with the Psalmist’s condemnations of his adversaries than with Jesus’ statement of forgiveness on the cross, or with His instructions to love our adversaries, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who use and persecute us out of retaliation. Seeing individuals who hurt us through God’s eyes – the same eyes that loved us when we hurt Him – is really quite tough for us.
It has been suggested that we add our names to John 3:16 to make it more individualised and to help us realise that God’s love for the world is specifically intended for each of us. However, what if we substitute the name of the person who bothers, despises, or harms us? What if we say this:
“God so loves (insert name here) that He gave His only begotten Son, so that (insert name here) should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Would it be more enlightening for us to view them from God’s viewpoint as His beloved but misbehaving child who needs to re-establish a relationship with Him and with us? Would this make it easier for us to love as God loves and to pray with compassion and an open heart?