by Rick Warren — September 22, 2023
From 40 Days of Love
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 (NIV)
God is always first in everything. He takes the initiative. The only reason you can love God or anybody else is because God first loved you.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:19, “We love because [God] first loved us” (NIV).
God has shown us his love in so many ways. He showed his love by sending Jesus Christ to Earth to die for you. He showed his love by creating you. He showed his love by giving you everything you have in life. We love because God first loved us.
If you want to learn how to love other people, you’ve got to first understand and feel how much God loves you. When you feel his unconditional love, you’re going to start cutting people a lot more slack. You’re not going to be as angry as you’ve been in the past. You’re going to be more patient. You’re going to be more forgiving. You’re going to be more merciful. You’re going to show other people grace.
The reason why you see people who are judgmental, sarcastic, angry, self-righteous, and always putting other people down is because they don’t really grasp how much God loves them. And that usually means they don’t feel good about themselves because they don’t feel loved or forgiven. They haven’t fully understood God’s grace, and so they feel guilty and bad about themselves. And if they feel bad about themselves, they certainly don’t want you feeling good about yourself.
Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you’ve been hurt by parents or peers or partners. Maybe you’ve been abused, misused, rejected, abandoned, or betrayed. You’ve got some scars on your heart.
Here’s the truth: You cannot give to others what you have not received yourself. Unlovely people are unloved people. Hurt people hurt people. If you’re filled with anger and impatience and you don’t feel loved, guess what? You won’t be able to love anybody else.
You have to learn how much God loves you and let it heal your heart so his love can flow through you. It is impossible to love others until you really feel loved yourself.
The Bible says, “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16 NIV).
Do you know the love of God? Do you rely on the love God has for you? You will have an easier time loving other people when you have God’s love flowing through you.