Jul 242014 4 Responses

‘God Is Love’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think

God is love.

These three words are from one of the simplest and most beautiful verses in the Bible. They describe God in the simplest of forms. But they leave us with a great misunderstanding of the character of God.

God is love. But what is love?

When God’s self-declaration of having the character of love is combined with our definition of love, we are left with a gross misunderstanding of the nature of God.

God is love, but we cannot assume we know what love is. In fact, when we assume the definition of love we are guaranteed to know neither the nature of love nor the character of God. Assuming the knowledge of love ensures we will never understand its true meaning. (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will)

For humanity to understand the true definition of love, we must have it shown to us. We cannot understand it on our own.

This is what Jesus did—he defined love. Yet often we fail to allow his life to influence our understanding of love.

For us, love is: (See: The Most Confident Christians)

  • blind acceptance
  • good feelings
  • an absence of tension

But for God, love has none of those qualities. (See: Never Confuse Acceptance for an Absence of Faith)

While God’s love may give blanket acceptance—he loves you no matter what you have done—it is not a blind acceptance. He knows you more than you know yourself and while he loves you in spite of what you have done, his love changes who you are.

While God’s love may bring good feelings, His love can also bring conviction, regret, and the desire to change. It can create an uncomfortableness and anything but good feelings.

While God’s love may bring peace, it does not always relieve the tension in our lives. It might actually increase it.

We are right in our understanding that God is love, but we are wrong is assuming we know what love is.

If God self-declared himself as love and fully exemplified what love is through Jesus Christ then everything Jesus does in the New Testament is love.

It was love that:

  • rebuked the Pharisees
  • told the adulteress woman to sin no more
  • warned his followers they would be hated
  • spoke about Hell

Those actions which reveal the love of Jesus would have little association with our modern-day understanding of love. (See: Three Lies Christians Tell Themselves)

“But God is Love”

The most common way I hear the phrase “God is love” in today’s culture is with the word “but” preceding it. One person proposes an action or thought and the other objects by saying, “but God is love.” The danger with the statement is it assumes what love is when the Bible reveals to us we have very little knowledge of the true nature of love.

A better question may be, “Is that loving?” When someone proposes a thought or action in the name of God, we can ask, “Is that loving?” It reminds us of our true ignorance and the answer we most need revealed to us. God has shown us he is love. Now we need to understand the full picture of what love is.

It’s a question we should ask far more often.

To say nothing as a friend makes horrific decisions as they “follow their heart.” Is that loving? Probably not.

To scream on the street corner at strangers that their actions are sinful. Is that loving? Clearly not.

So sometimes love: (See: Why You Don’t Submit to God)

clearly calls out sin and other times it does not.

screams and other times it is silent.

is stern and strict; other times it is soft.

Love is far more complex than we realize and many of our snap judgments regarding its nature are drastically wrong.

God has revealed himself as love. Now he is in the process of showing me what the true nature of love actually is. (See: “God Called Me” vs. “I Want To”)

To assume knowledge is dangerous. To ignore God’s revelation is foolish. The wise action is to seek understanding regarding the true nature of love.

“God is love” doesn’t mean what you think. It means what God thinks.

4 Responses to ‘God Is Love’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think
  1. […] But not always. (See: ‘God Is Love’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think) […]... kevinathompson.com/people-pleasing
  2. […] While Christians have to admit Christianity cannot be fully proven, others must admit it is undeniab... kevinathompson.com/you-cant-prove-jesus
  3. […] loves us unconditional. According to Kevinathompson ” While God’s love may give blanket acc... https://www.powerfulsight.com/gods-love-the-unfailing-love-of-god-for-humanity

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