We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21
It's been a good many years ago since Pam and I visited some friends who had a whole herd of cats. Yes, I know, "herd" is probably not the right word to use when it comes to describing a bunch of cats, but "flock" didn't seem right, either.
At any rate, when it was time to go we began to round up our children. We found our youngest sitting on the porch swing, petting one of their very, very contented, purring cats.
We told our daughter to get ready as we were on our way.
Although she didn't argue with our decision, Kris also didn't move. When we asked what was holding her back, she confessed, "I don't know what to do with the cat. He has his motor running."
Since then I've found that what sometimes works with a cat -- love, care, and attention -- almost always works on people. It's a rewrite of that old proverb, "We can capture more flies with honey than we can with vinegar."
Sadly, the Church doesn't always dispense love, care, and attention as freely as it ought. There are times when we demand people meet some arbitrary and unnecessary rules before we accept them. There are times we refuse to forgive as we have been forgiven. There are times when . . . well, I don't have to go on, do I?
It's sad we act like that. It's sad and it's wrong. Look into the manger of Bethlehem, gaze upon Calvary's cross, enter the empty tomb -- you must be impressed at how much undeserved love, care, and attention the Savior has given us.
Now, all He asks is that we love others because He first loved us.
If we did, it would be deafening -- what with all of those ex-strangers and ex-enemies of the Savior beginning to purr.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have given me a love I never deserved. May I be thankful and moved to share Your love with others. By my actions, deportment, and words, may those around me see I know the wonders of the love, care, and attention You have given this poor sinner. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries