Yesterday, as I walked away from my house, I heard the front door open and a small voice call out, almost defiantly and decidedly victoriously, “I love YOU most!” As the door slammed shut, I couldn’t help by laugh at my little boy’s unwillingness to allow me to have the last word and shake my head at his sweet sentiment that warmed my heart. As I kept walking, I heard another Voice speak to me. This one was quiet, heard deep within my heart, gentle but firm, reminding me, “I love you most.”
And He does. The love that God has, not only for me, but for all of humanity is MOST. It’s more than anything this world has to offer. It’s greater than any natural love we can muster up. It’s deeper than any emotion we can experience and any relationship we can engage.
It is MOST.
It is that love that compels us, as His Church, as members of His body, to love others and to serve those He loves, namely… everyone.
You see, that voice that whispers, “I love you most” doesn’t just whisper it to me. He whispers it to every single person who has ever lived, is living now, and will live. His love is so great, so limitless, that it can be MOST to every person.
Just in case the word “every” is leaving room for any confusion, “every” means “all.” It means the complete expanse of mankind, young to old, all of humanity.
Which is why my heart breaks each time I hear rhetoric that targets certain members of the human race and speaks words of disrespect, dishonor and dismay. Words that insult and abuse and words that say exactly the opposite of “I love you most” but instead say, “You are not worthy of love.”
But what breaks my heart even more, what confuses me beyond belief, what causes me to toss and turn at night, is when these words are spoken by those who claim to be Christians, and are cheered and lauded in places that label themselves as places of worship, and are shared on social media by those who would see themselves as God-followers. By ministers of the gospel, which at its heart is “I love you most.”
By church-goers. By parents. By children.
In my heart of hearts, I believe this is bigger than politics. This is not about taxes and policies, laws and legislature. This is not even about social issues or economic issues.
It’s about decency. It’s about humanity. It’s about Love.
If as Christians, we aren’t the ones opening the door and shouting, “God loves you most” to EVERY single person, regardless of anything, then who will be?!?
If our children aren’t hearing love in our words about and to others, then what are we teaching them?
If we claim to be God-followers and speak, cheer, repeat, tweet, applaud, and affirm words of insult, injury, ignorance and hate…what are we teaching about God’s unconditional love?
That it’s not true. That it can’t be trusted. That perhaps they are not good enough to receive love either.
And in the meantime, God is still calling, “I love you most.”
Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both (1 Jn. 4 The Message)
If we hear His Voice, relentlessly calling to us that He loves us most, we must speak that truth to others and live lives that say it in what we do, how we act, and who we love. To do less means we ourselves have not truly experienced His love and that is the saddest thing of all. We owe it to our children to really consider if His love is our love.
Because, at the end of it all, He really does love us MOST.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.