Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:7-21, NRSV)
Anyone who loves is born of God.
But doesn’t everyone love?
I mean everyone loves something. Most of us love ourselves. I know sometimes we don’t, but for the most part we all love ourselves. And sometimes we love things so much that we will do anything to keep them from changing, or to save them from the changes that have happened. Which really isn’t possible.
I know as a parent I wanted my girls to stop growing and be “daddy’s little girls” forever. Which they will be, but they will all grow up and change. But I love them, as most parents love their children.
So how is it we define love here? Because God is love and those of us who love are born of God and those of us who don’t love do not know God.
And all of us have moments of not loving.
What I think the author of this letter is getting at is, God is love all the time. There is an underlying tone of love in everything God does, and those of us who seek after God’s heart must strive to have an underlying tone of love in everything we do. Not looking out for ourselves, but always the other.
We all will fall short and not be loving all the time, but God lives in us and can help us to look to Him and error on the side of grace and love.