1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.…
The true love, of which I would speak, may be thus defined — desire for the well-being of another. Whenever a person acts in the sole interest of another, and on his behalf alone, he is showing his love for him.
1. That love is an instinct or property of human nature needs little or no illustration.
2. There is a word to say also about the difference between love and the conscience. There is no conflict of claims here. Love and conscience both alike demand that we shall do our duty. But love will often discern what that duty is before the reason has a chance to be heard or the conscience has uttered its call. Love leaps up to enjoy doing what the colder and more sluggish conscience only says we ought to do.
3. That we depend largely on knowledge for a right indulgence of our love. Just as conscience requires us to do our best and to take pains to discover what is right, so true love demands still more anxiety. A mother bending over the sick bed of her son is racked with feverish anxiety to know what will do him good. With no less anxiety does a truly loving heart long to know and try to discover what is best to be done for the dear one's benefit. Love is an active, not a passive principle. It is self-sacrifice, not self-will or the worship of crotchets. True love begins at home, and if she is allowed her due rights there, she will not be wanting when we go abroad, nor fail us in our dealings with strangers or with the lower creation.
4. Love is the parent of many virtues. In the first place, love begets justice. Not only justice of deed but justice of thought, of which we all stand even more in need. You cannot be just to anyone whom you dislike or hate, you cannot be just and true to anyone for whom your love is not pure and true. True love then adds to justice the quality of mercy, not sparing in the condemnation of the sin, but tender, merciful, and forgiving to the sinner. Then we find love the faithful parent of patience, forbearance, humility, and meekness, all elements of the highest humanity and sources of unspeakable blessing and peace. When we truly love, we show all these virtues in their lustre. But I pass over them to lay emphasis on the healing and purifying effects of love upon our own sinful hearts. Nothing but love can make us truly repent. Just as we all have some unkindness to repent of, so we all have something to forgive. And love alone can teach us how to forgive right nobly and generously. We know also how love is the parent of the commonest virtues, diligence in business, honesty, trustworthiness — all such virtues are a thousand times over begotten and preserved by the love we bear to those dependent on us. For them we toil and work and keep our hands clean from dishonesty. For them we strive to preserve our character and the confidence of the world. And love is the mother of truthfulness. We all know and feel that the most. cruel act we can do is to deceive one who trusts us. Never can we deceive or cheat one whom we truly love. And lastly, love begets courage and heroism. Time would fail me to recount the long and glorious catalogue of those who have given their lives for others — aye, for the undeserving.
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.