Metaphysical misperception

There’s a very interesting little verse in the Bible that few people ever notice. It’s tucked away in a letter that John wrote to some of the first Christ-followers, where he said simply, “God is love.”

How many times have we read that little phrase and said to ourselves, “Of course, I know that” and continued reading? But did you know that this little phrase is the only one in the entire Bible that tells us who God is? Noun, verb, noun. Everything else in Scripture uses adverbs and adjectives to tell us what he’s like rather than who he is.

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of what we hear and think about God is that he’s The Lawmaker and The Law Enforcer. And to those who disobey his laws, he’s The Punisher. 

Lawgiver and Punisher are pretty much how most Christ-followers view God. Oh, sure, we have those delirious moments during worship or on a mountain retreat. We have incredibly sweet moments sometimes, when we have the sense that he’s whispering in our ear or hugging us.

But these are few and far between and forgotten in our day-to-day lives. Mostly, we see something we like and consider getting it or doing it or becoming it, but we also consider, if only for a moment, whether it’s going to make God mad at us and if we’re going to “get it” for getting it. 

But our God is not remotely like that. He’s love. Full stop. 

He loves you. He loves being with you. He loves listening to you and talking with you and sharing your life. When you do something you shouldn’t, he loves you. When you fail at anything, he loves you. When you ask stupid question, he loves you. When you get depressed, he loves you. Do you see a pattern here? 

There is nothing you can say or do that will even remotely affect his love for you. Nothing generous you can do to make him love you more. Nothing wicked you can do that will make him love you less. 

He’s not only full of love but also his love is full. It can’t become greater or less. 

His eyes sparkle when he looks at you. His heart beats louder when you speak to him. He doesn’t get an attitude when you ignore him or avoid him. He doesn’t get offended when you yell at him and call him names. He doesn’t get hurt when you don’t appreciate him or misjudge him. 

He can love and express love and maintain love because he is Love.

My friend, Ron Brackin told me about a time when he was first saved. He was driving the beltway that runs around the Nation’s Capitol when, he said, “God smiled at me.” Ron’s heart was beating so hard and he was crying so hard that he had to pull over and stop the car until he could get control again. He was on his way to the little church where God sent him when he was saved. When he got there, he saw a friend and tried to tell him what he had seen, but he could barely get it out before he started bawling again. That smile, he said, was so beautiful, so real. But what grabbed his heart was that it was aimed at him.

Few of us may ever “see” God smiling at us. But trust me, he is. And nothing in this world can make him stop.

~ Photo by Liane Metzler