I arrived at my neighbor’s party fashionably late. Alone. I wouldn’t know most of the 60 expected guests. But as soon as I slipped inside, my friend Janice enveloped me in a hug. Then she introduced me to others.
“Mom,” Janice said, “This is Sara.”
I never caught the name of Janice’s mother-in-law. But “Mom” took my hand and held it as she spoke. She smiled, engaged, as if she knew me. As if she loved me before I met her. I loved Mom immediately in response.
The encounter reminded me of Jesus, who demonstrated His love for me before I ever met Him. “We love because he first loved us,” John wrote (1 John 4:19, ESV). Yes, we love Him because He loved us first. But we also love others — because He loved us first.
Love God. Love people. Two commands made easy because He loved us first.