Tuesday, October 24, 2006

1 John 4:16

1 John 4:16 - ...and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (NASB)

I used to have a bit of trouble with this scripture, and the ones just before it, where John writes that if we love each other, we must clearly be Christians, because God is love. I thought "But that can't be right. There are people who love each other who aren't Christians..." But these days I consider that it's so much more involved than that.

I think the question really comes down to "What do you mean by 'abides in love'?". After all, there's a difference between just loving someone who loves you back, and actually abiding in love. Abiding suggests you spend every minute of your day there. It's not just living there, treating the place like a hotel (to quote my mum), but abiding, more like a state of being if you like. And I think if you consider people that abide in love, then you're actually a lot closer to what John means by this.

And of course, whether other people are doing (being?) this or not is their business. There's a nice quote in the Narnia books, where someone asks Aslan about another person, and he says something like "No-one is told any story but their own". The kind of challenge that John gives me here is not about what qualifies someone else, but for me. I need to consider whether I am abiding in love, not whether anyone else is.

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