Happy Easter!

Picking a title was a bit of a challenge, I knew I was going to write on the “Father’s heart”, but what was it specifically about the Father’s heart? Was that too vague? Then just thinking about God’s love, I realised it is everything about the Father’s heart. I have felt the Father’s heart and each time, my little brain can only try to comprehend it.

Wherever I find myself I make sure to speak a language of love, it cuts through and crosses boundaries, such as culture, tradition, language, race and so on. Speaking a language of love is not only with words or what I say, but through my actions, what I do and how I treat others. The world is a dark place, it is easy to get caught up in all that darkness and hate and go with that flow. Love, on the other hand is a light that can outshine darkness. Love can cause a chain reaction, people who are shown love are likely to show love to others. Negativity is easy, it’s easy to spread fear, lies and hate, but as Christians we are called to spread the Gospel, the good news of the Father’s heart and His perfect love.

Now bringing it to the bible, the greatest love letter, the word love appears between three hundred and five hundred times depending on the version and method of translation. Most of the time love is mentioned, it is about the love of God, the Father, for his children. Other expressions that are closely related to love are “loving-kindness” and “steadfast love”. From my knowledge of the bible I can say that the essence of Christianity is love, we have been called to love, to show love and to be love.

Two very prominent scriptures in the bible which Jesus referred to as the great commandments are in Matthew 22:37 (RSV)  “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” and in Matthew 22:39 (RSV)  “you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” We should love God first, with everything we are; with all our passion, because God Himself is love. Then second, to our neighbour or to simply anyone around us, we are to love them and treat them the same way as we will treat our own self. Love others, do not treat your neighbour differently, do not show them hate because they do not fit all our boxes, whoever they are, we are to love them first. Colossians 3:14 (RSV)  “And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony”. The message version says love is, “your all-purpose garment.” Other versions describe love as, the bond of perfectness and the bond of unity.

An encounter I had partly inspired this piece; I am in a season of my life where I reside in a hostel accommodation for school. A couple of months ago my neighbour (literally) in my hostel did something nice for me. I had gone to study and when I arrived back to my room I saw what she had done and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I was so shocked that she went out of her way to be nice. She didn’t have to. There was no way for me to know she had the opportunity to be nice, but she was. Love can be shown through the little actions like that, I was able to see love in an act of kindness. I have read stories of people showing kindness and love to total strangers, when they do not have to, and not expecting anything in return. As Christians, we are held to an even higher standard, to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matt 22:39).

1 John 4: 7-12, tells us that we need to have known the Father’s heart before we can claim to love another person. Yes, it is possible to have felt and shown love without knowing the Father, many who do so are non-believers. If people are capable of showing outrageous love then, I can only imagine how their love can be expressed if they knew the Father’s Heart.

To me, knowing the Father’s Heart is understanding that there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God, nothing in the past or the present or yet to come, nothing in this life. It is knowing that no matter how much I stumble and fall, His love is there to pick me up! It is understanding that the Father loves me so much he chose to send his son, his only son, to die for my sins. I am valued, cherished and deeply loved, he knows my name and calls me by it. I did not do anything to deserve this love, but he loves me still. The Father’s heart is whole and his love is not given in pieces. It’s an unconditional love, a perfect love, a love that each day my mind tries to comprehend, so much so that I am yet to find all the words to describe it.

I leave these questions in your heart today,

“What is the Father’s heart to you? How will you talk about his love for you?”