My grandmother is an important person to me. She is very special and I when I think back to my memories growing up with her, the one thing that remains constant to me is that I have always felt loved by my grandmother. She made love her motto in life, she wanted to make sure she showed her love to her family and that her family loved each other. I think in that way, my grandmother reflected God the most because God is love.
I used to not be able to understand God’s love. I brushed past the well known scriptures of love without a second thought, thinking God was found in the power or miracles or even best preached message out there – focusing on His demonstration over His love. I realized I was blind to the most basic reality of who God is to humanity – love.
The Bible is filled verses that talk about the love of God and here are a few of my favorites that I have been brought back to:
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son”
“The most important commandant,” answered Jesus, “is this:… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Whoever loves God must also love his brother”
1 John 4:21
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing”
1 Corinthians 13: 2
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.“
1 Corinthians 13:13
There is a story of a man who had a near death experience and went to heaven. He met with Jesus and Jesus asked him one simple question: have you learned to love? This man, knowing his faults and lack and selfishness in life said no and so Jesus sent this man back to earth to continue his life and to also tell his story to others, asking them the same question: have you learned to love?
I know my grandmother learned to love and I am learning as well. I have a neighbor and her name is Margaret. I haven’t loved her the best but I am learning how to love her better so I can love my neighbor as myself. I have a brother, I actually have two, their names are Bobby and Evan and I am learning how to love them as the Bible tells me true love is loving my brother. I have a best friend and her name is Jemimah. I have learned over the past 4 years how to truly love her with no conditions as the Bible say it is great love to lay your life down for your friends. I have a mom and dad and their names are Bob and Janice and I am learning how to be loved and love them back as the Bible says that is like the love of the Father.
I say all of this because love is not some aspirational and unattainable concept. Love is in front of us every day that we can show to the people closest to us.
I always felt like I was never doing the best job at loving because I wasn’t able to show love to the hundreds or thousands I felt were out there that needed love. But as I am slowing learning, as I saw with my grandmother, love is loving the person right in front of you. Loving the ones closest to you, loving your family and friends. That is where God exists, because God is love. When we love, we demonstrate God in a way to those people. And when others love us, we encounter God through them. I can say how true that is for my grandmother, she has taught me a lot about love and what God is like. And I am going to continue spending my life learning how to love like her and love ultimately like God. Because after all, God loved us all first and He is the originator and source of love.