What is love?: Weekly Message for 02-28-2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

What is love? God is love.

How do I know love? Because I am loved. An unloved being can’t know love. It is a terrible tragedy to not know you are loved. God loves us, so we know love. We exist because of his loving thought, his loving interest, his loving gaze. We exist in God’s love.

To not know God is like not knowing air. We can’t live without air, but we don’t have to know it exists to breathe it. Air won’t stop being air because you think it is not air—it is the same with God’s love. God doesn’t stop loving us because we don’t know he loves us. We are loved whether we recognize it or not.

God is better than air, though. Air is indifferent to us. God is not—God cares. He wants us to love him in return. We are important to him. He wants our love, and he gives us his love even if we don’t deserve it.

It is a greater tragedy, then, to not accept God’s love. God’s love is as accessible as air. We can’t avoid it since we exist in it, and we would cease to exist without it. Yet this little part is left: our part to accept or reject it.

What does it look like to reject God’s love? You might pretend that God doesn’t love you then live your life that way, or you might live indifferent to his love. Or you might acknowledge that he loves you, but not accept his love because you feel unworthy. Newsflash! Not one of us is worthy of God’s love! Loving God and being loved by him is not about being worthy. Love is a choice—God’s choice—for you.

The question now is: “How do I accept God’s love?”  The answer: By loving him in return, with all that love implies.

What does love imply? I found the answer in John’s gospel:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn. 14:15)
Whoever loves me will keep my word…” (Jn. 14:23)
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” (Jn. 15:9-10)
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” (Jn. 15:12)

God’s love is life-changing! It changes us. Responding to love with love changes us—our behaviors, our attitudes, our lives—because we begin to choose love over other things. Accepting God’s love changes our choice—we begin to choose God!

In choosing God, we begin to choose other people as well. We reveal the love of God to others by loving them: “This I command you: love one another” (Jn. 15:17).

A beautiful passage for reflection is 1 John 4:7-12, which I hope you can read while prayerfully reflecting on the greatness of God’s love, both for you personally and for each and every one of us. My prayer is that each of you have a very blessed Lent!

In Christ,

Nicole Buchholz

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