We Hate Because he First Hated Us.

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daily text logoMay 12, 2015

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

CONSIDER THIS

new-truth

We love because he first loved us.

Sometimes, in order to break through last year’s understanding, I will turn a verse upside down or over on its side to see if I can gain a fresh perspective. It’s not so much that last year’s understanding was wrong (though it may have been). The point is last year’s understanding may not be enough for this year’s faith. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now we see “dimly” as in a mirror.” (ch.13)

So does this mean the meaning of Scripture changes over time? Absolutely not. It deepens. The truth is the truth is the truth: yesterday, today and forever. It does not depend on my perception, interpretation or understanding. Love, however, is another matter. In order for my love to grow deeper in the ways of the Love of God, my perception, interpretation and understanding of the truth must deepen.

Back to flipping the text over, what if we put it this way: “We  hate because he first hated us.” In this instance, by “he,” I refer to Satan of course. Isn’t that what’s going on back in Eden? It’s a scene filled with misrepresentation, deception and lying; the kind of things people do when they “hate” another person.

Jesus put it even stronger when he said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Satan hated humanity from day one to the present day. God, on the other hand, loved humanity from day one to the present day. Just as Scripture says, “We love because he first loved us,” does it not follow that, “We hate because he first hated us?” Is this not exactly what happened in Eden? If perfect love drives out fear, then fear, left to itself will become hatred. And let’s remember, hatred doesn’t begin with our feelings. It begins with the small and often subtle ways we prefer ourselves at the expense of other people.

For instance, in the wake of Eden’s fall, Adam and Eve hid themselves from each other. Because they broke their trust with God, their trust with one another was broken.  This is what we do when we are afraid. Next, they hid from God. Once trust is broken, self protection becomes the name of the game, and self protection always comes at a cost to others. Remember what happened when God found them and inquired as to what had happened? Blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed Satan. Translation: Everybody threw everybody else under the bus. That’s how hatred does its best work, turning people against each other. Before you know it, they have a couple of kids out in the suburbs somewhere east of Eden and one of the sons winds up murdering the other.

Let’s go one more click in. Few of us would identify our big problem as “hatred.” The problem is anger. Anger thrives in a milieu of mistrust. Mistrust in our relationships feeds anger, and like a garden full of weeds, anger will literally suck the life out of it. From here it’s a few short steps to contempt and hatred and a couple more to retaliatory behavior and only a few more to all out war of either the hot or cold variety.

How about it? We hate because he first hated us. Unfortunately, this is the default position of the human race. Without intervention, and whether we admit it or not, we inevitably contribute to the condition known as “on Earth as it is in Hell,” and without intervention that’s where we will all wind up.

Thank God there has been an intervention. It’s called the Gospel. I’ll give it to you in seven words today:

We love because he first loved us.

It’s important we remember the Gospel did not begin as God’s response to sin. The Gospel preceded sin. The Gospel even preceded the Creation. John said it yesterday: God is love, which is to say God is sacrificial, self-giving, overflowing generous goodness– all the time. Before anything came to be, God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelled together in the unapproachably holy Love and Light of the Gospel.

We must come to grips with this fact: sin did not get the first word and it will not get the last. In creating the world, God first loved us. Original love preceded original sin. “He first loved us.” When sin entered the scene and broke our trust relationship with God, he kept loving us. This is the intervention part.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

We love because he first loved us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

O.K., I’ve got to stop. But I want to make sure you are trusting Jesus. I want to know that you have crossed over from death to life and from hatred to love. I know, the vestiges of death and hatred still linger. We’ve got work to do on things like pride and anger– but we work from this place of knowing that, “We love because he first loved us.”

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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