Relationships have great power, and relationships with a perfect, holy, and loving God have great power for good. Consider these words of Jesus, as recorded in the book of John:
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:18-21 NIV
In a healthy family, even one that is imperfect, there is a love that extends to all parties. This is not just a collection of individual love from each family member to each other family member. It is still important to have a personal love for each of the other people in one’s family, but there’s more to a loving family (whether here on earth, or in our spiritual relationships with God) than just this one-to-one scenario.
When a child knows that his or her parents love each other (where that opportunity is present), there is an element of security and comfort. When parents love each other, this also benefits children who learn by example. Similarly, parents bless each child when they show love to others in the household, by illustrating that the family is a single unit, and that there are no second-class members in it. (This is especially true for foster, adoptive, and blended families.)
Yes, we love Jesus and He loves us, but there is even more to be gained by understanding relationships outside of just these two.
In the same way, as we begin to grasp the love among God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, we can rest in the security that comes from understanding that love. We can start to appreciate that we – as adopted children in God’s family – are receiving love from the same God that loved the world enough to provide for our salvation (John 3:16).
In addition, we learn from the love of God (His example) how we are to love each other. It may seem impossible to live out the love that God the Father had for human beings, because He is so far beyond our understanding. However, we have Jesus (God the Son) as a tangible example of what God’s love for human beings looked like, and (thanks to Jesus’ promise in John 14:16-17, immediately preceding the verses above) we have the Holy Spirit with us for direct consultation.
There’s also a love within a family in general. Not necessarily focused on an individual, there’s a love for the unity, strength, and community that can be found in a family as a whole. I believe that we can have this same love for the Body of Christ, even as Jesus loves the church (see Ephesians 5:25-26).
So, how can we let our understanding of the love within the Trinity, as well as God’s love for us, shape our personal identity, as well as how we love others? Starting with our love for the church – both individuals and the entire community – how can we mirror the love of God to other people? That’s a big goal, but one worth pursuing.
- The College Press NIV Commentary – John, by Beauford H. Bryant and Mark S. Krause, pages 305-309. © 1998 College Press Publishing Co.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.