How our understanding of love was formed dramatically impacts how we understand God. The two are very closely related. Most ideas of God have to do with love in some fashion. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God is love.
There in lies the problem and the solution. God is. Those two words basically set us up for something huge. God is about to be defined. When we say that something is _______. We describe it’s very nature, we describe it’s being. So when we read here that God is…. we’d better take a moment, breathe and keep reading because what comes next is the nature and description of God. John writes that God is love! Okay, he said it. God is love.
No wonder we have such a difficult time with our understanding of God! Our understanding of love has been formed in us by those around us and it hasn’t always turned out well. So now we take what we’ve learned about love from experience and apply it to our understanding of God.
God then is one who says he loves us, but never shows up. Maybe he’s someone who says he loves you yet is painfully ashamed of you. Perhaps it’s that he’s waiting for you to screw up or that he is not a protector or worse, he is an abuser. Deeply imbedded into our understanding of love is our understanding of God and our relationship with Him.
So this holds with it an obvious problem. It is no wonder we don’t know if we can trust God, because we’ve never been able to trust those who tell us they love us? No wonder we continually seek His approval, because we are still seeking the approval of our parents. Whatever we learned of love, we apply to God, for God is love.
How do you understand love? What do you understand of God? How has one been formed by the other?