Growing up from around the beginning of my teenage years onward, I always found it somewhat funny when I would read people’s short blurbs in their “about me” section, whether it was on the AIM profile (those were awesome), Myspace, or Facebook. One thing I found particularly amusing is when I would read someone’s profile and they would say something like, “if you respect me I’ll respect you,” or “if you love me then I’ll love you.”
The reason I find it so interesting is because that says nothing positive about a person. It takes nothing for me to be nice to someone who is nice to me. I also always wanted to ask why it had to be the other person who did the respecting first? If we all had that mindset then we would never get along.
Now I really can’t be too harsh because we are all like this to some degree. If someone is rude to us enough, most of us at some point will do or say something less than loving to them (or at least talk about them with someone else).
And this is what is so great about the Gospel of Christ. That God loves us enough to not only forgive us for all the sins we have committed, but to send Jesus so that he could be in a relationship with us; a people who deserve none of his love or forgiveness.
In other words, even though we have all disrespected and turned against God in various things we have done, he still took the initiative to love us.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
-1 John 4:9-10
The word propitiation simply means that Jesus appeased and took on the wrath and punishment we deserved from God. This happened because God sent Jesus into the world to do so. Which means that God loved us first, is willing to graciously forgive us, and that he does this all on his own accord.
It’s not as if he is waiting for us to show some kind of desire to “get right with the man upstairs,” and then he is willing to forgive and love us. Instead “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
It’s not about me and what I have done, but about Jesus and what he has down.
I’m thankful to be loved by someone not who, like many teenage relationships, wants something from me in order to some way earn his love, but by a God who willingly loved me first.