Peter Enns had some amazing insight in this column:
Here is the gist of his piece:
“Which brings me to my most frightening verse –actually two–1 John 4:7-8:
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.
This verse frightens me because when I think of that student it does not take long before I realize that I am looking at myself. I am prone to fall into the same patterns of this young, deeply troubled, student I last saw a dozen or so years ago. Hey, I’m a type A, German, analytical, intellectual guy. Bow before me as I conquer the universe.
This verse is followed by another in v. 12 that drives the point home even further:
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
I am tempted to insert “but” after the semi-colon, even though there isn’t one in the Greek. Still, I think the same point holds either way: The closest we ever get to seeing God is when we love one another, for that is when God lives in us.”
I don’t know about you because just this morning I found myself pleading to God during my devotion concerning the hate and anger I often find there. Hey, I am a passionate guy who gets excited, talks real fast (faster than his brain can censor at least), but the I desire to never be one who gets hate, anger, fear, or any negative emotion before the call to love. I desire to be one who loves his neighbor, his family, and his detractors. But it is so hard to love, isn’t it. And just so dang easy to hate, isn’t it. It’s so easy to send that snappy email comeback or facebook comment. It’s just so easy to speak without thinking and ruin someone’s day; just to make yourself feel better for just the barest of moments. But when we do these things: who are we really emulating? Whose example are we following? Are we being children of a man who died to save his enemies; or are we following the one who is a deceitful conniver out to treat his prey into his traps?