God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
He has a surprising sense of self around him. He wants to be an independent man. He wants to learn new things. He wants to help. He wants to love.
His name is Nathan. He has Downs Syndrome. Nathan helped me when I needed more hands than I possess. You can see his smile and he lights up a room. And his faith? He is among the most faithful people I have ever known. When Jesus said we had to come to faith as a little child, I believe Nathan was his example. Well, someone who was much like Nathan. Nathan may not physically be a child, but he knows
Nathan taught me more about living what Jesus said was the most important commandment. I don’t think there is a person alive Nathan doesn’t love. I haven’t seen him in quite some time, but I feel certain the Corona virus has impacted him in ways we don’t understand. Not being able to hug the people around him, to demonstrate that love to others, I am certain has an impact on him most of us wouldn’t understand.
In God we love. I don’t think we can ever talk about this too much. Most of us lack the willingness and fail to really understand someone like Nathan because the world conditions us to not let our guard down and to trust no one. Never show signs of weakness and at least as some think, to demonstrate love would be exactly that.
When it comes to our society and the way we live and the way we treat each other we are falling far short of Nathan’s example and more importantly, the instructions we have in our lesson and many other passages of Scripture.
We love, John writes, because God first loved us. John doesn’t stop with that, if we fail to love, we are liars. If we fail to love, to communicate that love, we can’t love God because God is love. I think John makes it pretty clear, you can’t love God if you don’t love your neighbor.
Our lesson says without love we are liars. But there is another place where John has a bit more to say. Consider this verse, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8, NIV)
As we walk through this life find ourselves surrounded by people who don’t love God, don’t love neighbor, and don’t love ourselves. And then we have people like Nathan. The Nathans of the world are far fewer in number than the rest of us. And, because they aren’t involved in protests, violence, and more, we tend not to see these people who try so hard to be a light for the world, a light that shows anyone who desires to see a better world.
May the Nathans around us shine brightly as examples of what God calls us to be.
In God we love… Be blessed…
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved