“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). The love for each other described here is not a mere handshake, a quick hug or flattery. No, this kind of love sees another’s need and does something about it. In fact, according to John, if we see our brother in need and do nothing, the love of God is not in us.
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Obviously, loving one another pleases God, but it is impossible to love others until you are fully assured of God’s love for you. John writes, “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (4:16). We simply cannot love others until this truth has been firmly established in us: “In spite of all my weaknesses and failures, God loves me!” If you are convinced of God’s love for you, his love will flow out of you naturally.
If we hold a grudge against a brother or sister, we do not possess God’s love. Moreover, if we withhold forgiveness from another, God withholds his forgiveness from us. So love is not just something to talk about. It is a matter of doing, acting, living.
If you truly want to please God, the Lord will open your eyes to the needs of those around you. Selfish Christians do not know this kind of love for others. The gift of caring is given only to those who seek it and pray for it. The Spirit of Christ will alert you to the needs of others, causing you to cry, “Brother, sister, let me help. I want to stand with you during this difficult time.” God will send you one person after another in need — yet it won’t be a burden. On the contrary, it will thrill you because you will share in God’s own joy!