‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we (Pharisees) know? John 6:41-51 Just the other day I said after introducing myself I said to someone that they probably wouldn’t remember my name. She responded, “I’ll remember, I have a best friend by that name.” Today’s reading caused me to realize we often make assumptions about one another based on what we see and what we perceive to know. Admittedly, I am the one who forgets names. Oddly enough, I won’t forget her name because of the same reason. I too have a best friend (since middle school) that has her name. A relationship with God transcends what we think we know of one another because only God fully knows each of us. It is much easier to accept what you perceive to know than to seek out what you don’t know. However, if we accept that nothing is fully known except by God then we should never stop seeking to know one another rather than simply accepting what we think we know or that other people will accept what we perceive to know.
I believe experiencing love for oneself is one of the most important things we can teach our children. It is not simply the arrogance of loving oneself. It is experiencing love in relationship with the Holy Spirit within us. It is the consciousness of what is good, what is right, what is whole, and what is perfect. It is not experienced in bits and pieces but rather consistent and ongoing knowledge of God’s love for us in spite of our conditions. This ultimate perfection in love cannot be experienced through other people because as humans we are imperfect. It can only be experienced through God in Christ. As much as we like to think that our love is perfect, it is not. We hurt each other albeit unintentionally. Even our feeble attempts to protect those we love hurts because we want to hide things. The reality is that we hide things to protect ourselves, not the people we love. If we first seek and experience God’s perfect love, then we will know what love is suppose to feel like, without conditions (mercy and grace). Having obtained the perfection of God’s love within us, it is then that the peace, which passes all understanding, becomes our peace, walking in love, as Christ loves us. We obtain that peace when we understand God’s love for us. When we understand God’s love for us, then we are able to begin to apply God’s love to other people. Not the other way around.
1 John 4:7-8 …because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.