Sunday Devotional: God is Love & Love is Real

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

“God is love and love is real.” – mewithoutYou

and so

could it be?

God is patient

God is kind

God does not envy

God does not boast

God is not proud

God is not rude

God is not self-seeking

God is not easily angered

God keeps no record of wrongs.

God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God never fails.

I Corinthians 13 remixed

See also:

Kevin Beck on ‘Agapetheism’

Blessings, Not Just for Those Who Kneel

17 Responses to “Sunday Devotional: God is Love & Love is Real”


  1. 1 Brittian Bullock March 10, 2010 at 1:18 am

    I like it.
    But it doesn’t work without a farther reaching and more nuanced appreciation of the text, right?

    I’ll work off of the conventional understanding of God–meaning, primarily, “personal” as in, a person–or perhaps The Person–and I would locate him in the Judeo Christian story as YHWH, Elohim…etc…the God who is developing a multi-part story that climaxes in the person of Jesus.

    ——-

    I can buy that God is patient…though wonder what Young Earth Creationists do with this. Or does that become an argument of “My evolution-loving creator is more patient than yours is!”?

    It starts to break down on the next one. God is kind. Really? Three possible nuances, 1) God is actually NOT kind at all 2) God is very kind, and we have very different definitions (I assume genocide to be unfriendly and unbenevolent behavior–he does not) or 3) God becomes kind…kind of…depending on where your story ends up…if Revelation locates itself literally, then your left with a God who regresses, at least for a while.

    God does not envy. Now this is an interesting one. Because I could go both ways (no homo). God doesn’t really have anything to be envious of…and yet it seems God does desire…and if there is desire, then there is expectation…unmet expectation can lead to all sorts of navish emotions–including jealousy–or envy especially if the emotion is rejected. Perhaps envy needs a better line distancing it from jealousy and yet I would argue that the God of the old testament seems to display the shading of either realities…He is irked that they choose other Gods, going as far as to identify his entire persona with the emotion (something counselors would object to)”I am a jealous god…” (notice He IS his emotion). Etc…in Hosea he gets downright emo.

    Then there is the whole thought of redemption, which is reclaiming something lost. Rather than accept his state of affairs, he becomes envious that a new owner has taken possession of his object (humankind, the earth, etc…) He then undertakes a massive (and highly manipulative as well as passive aggressive) recovery operation. Why can’t he just accept that he’s been rejected? Could this be an example of the need for legal intervention? Can’t take no for an answer? Need a restraining order? I’m just saying…his envy seems pretty sweeping. Greatest love story ever told…if you like slightly OCD lovers.

    God does not boast. Perhaps. Though Job reads fairly boastfully…I suppose one could construe this as a factual series of statements, but still…some just seem downright offensive. In the end I’m willing to say God does not explecitly boast–but in a LOST-like-loophole inspires his minions to do it for him. Psalms? The Elders in Revelation? Why boast when you can surround yourself with people who will sing your praises till the end of days?

    I believe I’ve addressed God’s pride…though I would like to point out that pride often can’t take being wrong–sometimes God strikes me that way. Like he can’t let go of the argument. He just HAS to be right. If that’s not pride–I don’t know what is.

    God is not rude? One thing that strikes me as rude is interuption. And if there’s one thing I know it’s God’s knack for interrupting people. Go down the patriarchal list–he’s always interupting somebody’s perfectly legitimate plans. It just seems he’s at least a demanding/high needs friend. If he were on Facebook, he would be that person who always instant chats you just when you least expect it–always getting into a deep conversation, or sending you those lame surveys constantly. I would defriend that person.

    Self Seeking…the standard reading doesn’t leave shades of gray. God does God’s business for God’s own sake. What’s more is he compels absolute loyalty from his minions–even his son…who feels so attention starved (consider not hearing from your father for 30 years–only to hear a public announcement that “This is My only son…hear him” before getting pelted by a pesky bird ambassador who lands on your shoulder…Come on Dad…you’re not my father–you’re sacred sperm donor!) that he binds himself to not even saying something his father doesn’t prompt him to. This feels like classic disfunction. At the very least God is self seeking. Again, I point to his ultimate victory. He can’t take no for an answer.

    God is not easily angered. Really? Really? He creates finite beings with finite capacities of understanding, limits the amount of information he gives them and then “grieves in his heart that he ever made them” because they made a finite and perfectly reasonable set of choices? Recovering practicioner of violence indeed. Now, by the time one comes to Jesus (who some have said to be a “crisis in the life of God”) we do find that God is mastering his temper. Isn’t that what we’re left with? He’s gotten better at taking out his agression in more productive ways? Hurling demons into pigs–rather than something less kind (though PETA would have a field day). Also there’s the long walks…this is the mark of some one who has sought therapy for their anger issues. Still, it’s a problem he’ll always have. He’s just gotten better at dealing with it.

    Keeping record of wrongs. I don’t know about that. There’s conflicting evidence. In the end–I’ll go with it. While it’s clear he iniates records of wrong (not to mention REMEMBERS it)–I could be persuaded that some, as yet unaccounted for, moment may come where he torches said record of wrong. I’ve given God the benefit of the doubt on this…in a way, you could say I’m keeping no record of wrong here…how very godly of me.

    Not delighting in evil. Yes…this does seem rather Godish. Although it’s hard to distinguish between the horror that he routinely inflicts, or advocates for his servants to do on his behalf, and not assume some amount of delight. The metaphor of a master surgeon having to hurt in order to heal is utilized nicely here…still, such a surgeon who uses the same technique with such disastrous results for such a long time might be considered a poor one if he doesn’t aim for a rennovation of method. At this point I would call his doctorship quackery…but no, no delight taken I’m sure.

    God always protects…stop right there…am I the only one who wonders–WHO!?!?!? Who is he protecting? This is strange to me. I mean, even Jesus admitted God’s powerlessness at preventing the sparrow from falling (God knows when even a sparrow falls–but notice, it STILL falls). It is possible that God always protects…his best interests (in which case we would refer back to him not being self-seeking–bunk). Always trusts? Oh really? Hmm…perhaps…but why such a watchful eye, why go with the ominiscience approach if he really trusts? Always hopes…ok–got me here. Call God a starry eyed romantic…here’s hopin kid.

    Finally, God always perservers–leading to God never failing…

    This all comes back around to his serious stalker like obsession with winning. I’m serious…a restraining order…that’s what we need. It’s the best thing for everyone.

    —–

    So, God may be all those things…but not without nuance, explanation, and plenty of non-textual imagination. As it turns out I like your reinterpration of God…it’s a good one.😉

  2. 2 Dan March 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Mike,
    I really like the remix! A great devotional.

  3. 3 Mark Eaton March 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Mike,

    I thought about the statement “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” This is a premise that most of the world has not considered. Since God is love, He delights not in Evil. Yet, as Brain Maclaren points out there are “images” in the Bible that have interpreted this way. I spent years studying
    “Evil.” I spent years studying Spiritual Warfare. I studied
    “satan, devil, evil, darkness” in the Hebrew and the Greek.
    Yet, I found that knowing all of the strategy didn’t bring to
    understand the Greater image in the Bible, the strategy of Love.
    The Truth will unveil, and uncover the Strategy of Love all along. That is what the word “Warfare” means in Greek is
    “Strategy.” What I have noticed is that for years, I created
    another language, I invented another Semantic name, called it
    “Evil” and then spent all my energy attempting to get rid of it.
    For instance, “Ego” has become the new devil is certain fields.
    “Dying to self”, I know people who don’t believe in demons, but
    chases ghosts. I thank God for Love!

  4. 4 David Henson March 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I totally freaking wish I would have thought of this. Loved it.

  5. 5 kevinstewart March 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Mike, I thought this was really cool and agree with it 100%…or at least I want to. What’s been bothering me for a while now is what to do about this “Old Testament” God that seems to disagree with all of this, as Brittian Bullock points out. I have to admit that I have had some of the very same thoughts as him. I’m interested to know how you deal with some of the seemingly “unloving” (to say the least) things that God is doing as well as other people on behalf of God in the Old Testament? It sees as though my “Sunday School” answers don’t work anymore! Can you help me out!!

  6. 6 David Henson March 21, 2010 at 1:12 am

    RE: Angry Old Testament God,

    I think it is helpful, for me, to remember that the Old and New Testaments reflect a certain group of people’s experiences of God, not necessarily God in actuality.

  7. 8 dove124 May 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Mike,

    You go beyond what are written. You made your own conclusion.
    What is written is that , “for God is love” period. Do not go beyond that, cause you will make a wrong assumption. You have no business concluding, after reading that verse that “for God is love”. You will now think that since HE is love, therefore conlude that God is… patient, is kind, does not envy, does not boast,is not proud, etc., etc.. You are wrong with that assessment.

    And further more, that letter of John was intended to the Christians, who already members of the Church of God, that is in the bible, and NOT just to anyone who happen to read the bible, and therefore think that, that letter was intended for him or her, like you, who think and truly believe that he is already a Christian, but in reality is NOT. That is the reason why, you never understand what John really mean.

  8. 10 dove124 April 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Bob,
    God is complex to those who do not understand the bible.

  9. 11 zoecarnate April 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    And you do understand the Bible? Entirely?

  10. 12 dove124 April 26, 2011 at 12:26 am

    zoecarnate,
    Why don’t you try me? So that you will know if I do understand what I’m talking about?

  11. 13 herla June 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    hey Mike.. nice to see you..
    nice posting and thanks for sharing your articles

  12. 14 dove124 July 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Mike,
    I will share a wisdom for you to ponder.

    Any TEACHINGS, or DOCTRINES, pertaining to Christian religion that comes from the WEST are ALL false teachings and doctrines. (including your teachings). That is biblical truth.

  13. 15 Mike Morrell July 21, 2011 at 3:37 am

    God bless you, Tiger Dove. Big sloppy wet kisses from heaven for ya. Mwa!


  1. 1 "You Don't Have To Die To Go To Hell" | Body Image Mastery Trackback on March 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm
  2. 2 The Love Revolution » Blog Archive » mike morrell on love. Trackback on March 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm

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