We often think that God’s method of loving is equivalent to the way that we love—the way the world loves. If we take a hard look at Scripture, however, we find that this isn’t the case.
How does the world love? We’ve been conditioned to love based on the sum total of how much we like someone else. So, if I like you enough, or if there is enough about you that I like, then I open my heart to love you. It seems to make sense logically, right?
But that’s just the thing. Love doesn’t make logical sense. The love of God is not the abundance of how much He likes us. He’s not up in heaven saying, “Oh, they’ve almost achieved my love. The way they put that outfit on—I really like that. I’m close to loving them.” No! That’s not how He loves. As a matter of fact, God’s love often skips over things about us that He doesn’t like!
We don’t like to think about God not liking us because, again, we’ve been conditioned to believe that His love is dependent on His like. Can we be brutally honest? There are many things about us God doesn’t like. But He loves us anyway. John 3:16 doesn’t say, “For God so liked the world.” No—it says, “For God so loved the world.”
God wants us to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34). How has He loved us? He forgave us; He didn’t condemn us; He didn’t judge us—even when we deserved it. When He was on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He didn’t come condemning; He came loving. While we were still sinners, He came to die for us and give us a way back to God (Romans 5:8).
So what’s the point? We often are so focused on the Great Commission that we forget the Great Commandment. Real, mature believers understand that love should always be present with truth. Love isn’t like—it’s not based on someone’s ability to perform, be charming, or do things correctly. This means that we have a responsibility to love everyone, just like Jesus did—regardless of how likeable they are.
We’re fortunate that God’s love isn’t based on like; and now, we are called to exhibit that same love to a world that desperately needs it.