God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)
What does it mean to love well? Have you ever pondered this question? I was recently thinking about my priorities -- what I ultimately want my life to be marked by -- and I decided that if the only thing that could ever be said about me was that I loved well, it would be enough.
But how do we love well?
There are so many scriptures that speak on this topic, but I find the clearest example of loving well is Jesus himself.
Yes, we know that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and showed us the ultimate love through this act (Romans 5:8). But the thing that gets me is that wasn’t all. Jesus could’ve come to earth and focused solely on his death on the cross and it would’ve still saved us from the penalty of death for our sins. But that’s not all he did.
He first spent years loving on people. He didn’t throw money at causes. He didn’t get into political arguments. He got into the hard, messy, ugly parts of life and loved people. He saw the people society ignored and showed them love.
That’s the thing with love. It requires seeing. True love requires seeing and being seen. And that’s kind of terrifying.
I don’t know about you, but there are things I don’t want seen. And honestly, there are things I’d rather not see. There are days I want to walk right on past and deal with my own business rather than stop and see someone else’s pain and mess.
But that’s not love.
I know I don’t need a love that’s based on whatever shiny exterior I can muster up on any given day. I need a love that’s there when everything falls apart. I need a love that sees my value when I don’t look or feel valuable.
That’s the kind of love I want to give. Not a shiny Valentine heart kind of love, but the kind of love that’s not afraid of the mess. Love that gets its clothes dirty and loves through the sin and the heartache and the brokenness and says, No matter what, you are still lovable.
Regardless of what you’ve been through, what you’ve done, who you’ve been, you are still loved.
That’s the kind of love the world needs. So love well.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 12:34-35)
Journal / Reflection Questions:
1. Have you experienced God’s love in the ugly, messy parts of your life? Have you opened up those parts to him and asked his love to flow through those areas?
2. Who in your life can you choose to actively see and love?
Amber is a wife to her husband, Steve, and mom to her two children, Ethan and Stella. She grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippines and has a degree in literature from Bethel University. She writes about food and creative endeavors at By Amber’s Hands.