Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of they elect sister greet thee. Amen.
From his heart of love, John deeply desired to help those he had come in contact with. This indiscriminate love is a marking characteristic of those who genuinely obey the command to love.
The truly loving do not make their love contingent on their own convenience. With no presumption or expectation, the command-fulfilling lovers do not look for anything in return. Those who love from the deep well of God’s love find that loving is not as much a chore as it is a choice. And this is a choice that John’s testimony in his epistles (letters) portrays. When he is writing the “Sincerely, John” part of his letter, he opens his heart to reveal the deep desire to be with those he loves. He knows that the Mediterranean separates them for now, and perhaps his health does not permit immediately, but the love is still in his heart for them.
You see, in the face of adversity, when all things were stacked against John, he still loved. It was not good enough to say, “I am hundreds of miles away,” or “I am too sick to carry on.” Rather, with a body full of pain, and a distance to far to cross, John pours out his heart in verse 12 with “I wish we could be together right now, that we both could rejoice together.”
This is not the cheap Greco-Romantic love of here today and gone tomorrow. It is not the selfish love that flees the moment it must spend any of itself. No, this is true, God-obeying love, selfless love that thinks more about others than about self, love that chooses to love, even when it is nearly impossible to. John knew that the recipients of this letter needed more training in truth. He knew that they must be helped, and from a heart of love, he had penned what he could to be able help them.
How do you love? Do you make sure that there is something in it for you? Do you think of others who may be healthier than you, or hundreds of miles away, or in your own house that need love? Do you love?
Food For Thought: In two sentences, describe biblical love. In two sentences, describe love according to culture.