"We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
"It's just so hard to love some people." Have you ever heard that said? Have you ever thought that before, or maybe even allowed it to escape guard of your own lips? How do you love difficult people: people who are rude, cruel, unloving, unresponding? What about people who always seem to be out to get you, have done you wrong, have hurt you more than you can even bear to imagine without giving into oceanic amounts of tears, anger, or rage? And, what about this: How do you love when love has diminished into a feeling that you are no longer able to detect in your heart? In short, Jesus showed us how. He loved us first.
John, in this passage, is not referring to our ability to love God, but rather the example that He has shown in Jesus to love others. Our ability is in the example. We can love others, regardless of who they are or what they have done with a love that is by choice, of the will, and unconditional. It is the love that He love us with and gave us the example in how to love others.
John was the disciple that stayed at the cross and saw what they had done to Jesus. He had beheld the results of great mutilation, humiliation, and crucifixion. He saw the indescribable contrast of love and evil. It was evil that took Jesus to the cross, but it was love that held Him there. There on that cross, Jesus loved them still. Now, John reminds us all that we can love others in that same manner, because it is the same way He has loved and continues to love us. He loves us past our faults, our struggles, our sins, our betrayals, and in spite of our own "un-lovliness."
Think about His love for you, and how patient He is with you, how kind He is towards you, and how forgiving He is to you and in spite of you. Pretty amazing and overwhelming, isn't it? Does the love that He has shown you spill over into your own choice to love? Never can you, in all sincerity, declare, "but I can't love like that." Truth is: you can. He did it. He has shown you, so that you won't be intimidated or convinced otherwise. And, because you can, you should. Think of the people in your life. No, not just the people you love to love, or that seem easier to love. Think of the people you are in conflict with, the ones that have hurt you, the ones that you'd rather just avoid altogether. Choose today to allow the love of an awesome God that has invaded the life of someone so undeserving (you), to spill over into the lives of those. He showed you how.