How do you know someone loves you? What are the tell-tale signs?
The list could be as individual as each one of us, and equally as long – but I would venture to guess that if we posed this question to fifty people, there would be some similarities, such as: when you love someone, you want to spend time with them. True love is not always feeling warm fuzzies toward someone. Even if you don’t feel like it, you still do the right thing for them. If you love someone, you will more than likely sacrifice something for them, somewhere along the line.
If we would take all the evidences of love, stand them up next to each other, and look for the one piece that stands head and shoulders above all others, what would that most prominent piece be?
Personally, the thing that would speak the most loudly to me would be whether someone would lay down their life for me… figuratively or literally. Instead of being indifferent, they would be invested in me, to the point of sacrificing their life for me.
When I see my husband laying down his life for me – doing things my way, changing his behavior because he knows what I prefer, sacrificing his time for my sake – these actions speak far louder to me than the simple words, “I love you”. I believe what I see.
When I read the following passage, and verify it against history, the same thing happens to me. I believe what I see:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again."
John 3:16-17 MSG
If I believe that Jesus really was sent from God to die for me… to give me life… if I take that grid and place it over all of life… everything changes. God is no longer the helpless bystander in a sometimes-ugly world, but now He is my helper in time of need. He loves me. He wants the best for me. He longs to redeem the hurt in my story; the injustices of this world. He loves.
This notion that God actually loves me is foundational to everything about God. Imagine a God who didn’t love. Would that be a God worth following?