As we commemorate Father’s Day today, and as we give thanks and remember our earthly fathers, at the same time I pray that we would reflect on our relationship with our Heavenly Father, particularly His great love for us. 1 John 4:10 tells us, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
As much as we might know of God’s love in His Word, at times our own positive or negative experiences of love from or with our earthly fathers could possibly affect our view or experience of God’s love. Jesus exhorts us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
What can we learn from Christ’s teaching here? Firstly, God’s love for us involves sacrifice - His own Son had to die a cruel death on the cross for the sins of the world. Secondly, what was new about Jesus’ command was that the Great Commandment was worded “love your neighbour as yourself,” whereas here Christ encourages us to love as He loved us. What a difference that makes, when in this day and age, many young people, if not other pockets of society, struggle with self-love, loving ourselves in a healthy and godly way. How do we love others when we might not even love ourselves? The new paradigm then is that we need to experience first Christ’s love for us, in understanding and receiving the gospel message, repenting from our sins and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation and eternal life. We can then be liberated to love others even as Christ’s love overflows in and through our lives. Lastly, our example of loving one another shows Christ to the world, as we reflect Him and show ourselves to be His disciples. John explains this further in 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
May all fathers have a blessed Father’s Day, and may we affirm and honour our earthly fathers, looking to God our Heavenly Father for His perfect example of love for us through His Son.