“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:11
It is in our sinful human nature to be self-centered and want revenge on those who have caused us pain. But Christ showed us a better way by insisting that we change our human perspective and treat other people the way God treats us.
Each of us has a death sentence hanging over our head, and God would be completely justified if He gave us what we deserve. But instead of wiping us out of existence, He provides a pardon to all who trust in the merits of His beloved Son–Jesus Christ. Since God has forgiven our sins, we are called to love and forgive our fellow human beings.
Jesus taught us to pray “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
We do not serve God out of fear for He loves us and offers us the gift of salvation. Instead we obey God out of love for having rescued us from eternal death. Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Our motivation for obedience is love–and if God can love us then we should love others in the same way. Our motivation for loving others comes from knowing that God has loved us first.
Not one of us is perfect, and it would be unreasonable to expect that others will be perfect. We have all offended God’s law, but He is willing to forgive. Why shouldn’t we be willing to forgive? Instead of lashing out at those who treat us badly, let us remember the many times we have treated others poorly. If God forgives our trespasses then we ought to forgive others.
“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:9