“God is love” (1 John 4:16).
God is love. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of God. Even those who are not Christians know and understand that God is a God of love.
What is confusing, though, is we mean something totally different with God than how we understand love in every other relationship.
When people say that God is love, people mean that God is always for us, never against us. That’s true. People mean God is always for everything that we are for, that God would never hurt us, that God would never offend us, that God would never do anything that would challenge us.
Basically, when we say that God is love, what we really mean is that God is for everything we are for.
But we never mean that when we talk about love in every other human relationship.
Parents love their kids. And because moms and dads love their kids, when the kids do harmful and dangerous things, loving parents correct and discipline their children. In fact, if parents did not correct and discipline children who were acting out in ways that are damaging, it would be the opposite of love.
Because moms and dads love their kids, they have to correct, rebuke, chastise, and discipline those whom they love.
What is surprising is that when people realize that God corrects, rebukes, chastises, and disciplines us because he loves, they get all hurt and bent out of shape. We get hurt because our god would never do that.
Why is it that when we know love must include correction, rebuke, and discipline, that we get so hurt and offended when God does what love requires?
God is love. Absolutely.
And because God is love, the God of scripture corrects, rebukes, chastises, and disciplines those whom he loves so that his children can experience God’s shalom. The reason why God corrects, rebukes, chastises, and disciplines those whom he loves is because he refuses to accept anything less than the fullness of life for his children.
It is not enough that God’s children live. God wants his children to live the abundant life. This is what Jesus says in John 10:10 – “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus tells us the reason why he came was so that we might live the abundant life.
God loves you. Absolutely. And he loves you so much he cannot leave us in our sins. Because God is a God of love, he will correct, rebuke, chastise, and disciplines us when we sin so that we might live into the fullness of life that God desires for us.
God is love.