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One Word

It had been too long since my lifelong friend and I had caught up with each other, so as I planned for a visit in the city where he now lived, we arranged to meet for breakfast. We updated each other on our families and recounted childhood memories—still cherished and somehow sweeter with age—before discussing meatier matters of the present. For decades Steve had endured addiction and also the messes that flow from it only to return and feed it once again. As we met, he had been sober for a few years (and remains so still today), relying daily on the love and power of God and the selfless support of friends. Steve recounted to me that, four months into his recovery, he and two friends had a deep conversation about turning one’s life over to God, and at that moment he felt the Spirit of God come over him—“It was like a thousand-pound weight off my shoulders.” Of the change in his life, my friend told me, “When I wake, the first thing I say to God is, ‘I love you, too.’”

Did you catch that—“I love you, too”? I cannot recall what Steve said after that, for my mind was racing to process what was to me a one-word sermon: “Too.” For who says, “I love you, too,” but the one already basking in the assurance of love from another? “Too” is the return of a love first received; it is the peaceful reply of the humbled heart; it is the echo resounding from the grateful soul. “I love you, too” professes the origin of love, for “love comes from God”1; it proclaims His character and rejoices before Him. And “too” testifies to this truth—“We love because he first loved us.”2 His love is pure freedom, and in this confidence we respond with these words and with our entire being from which they flow, “I love you, too.”

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. —1 John 4:16-17.

God, I love you and your Son always and forever. Amen.

1 1 John 4:17
2 1 John 4:19

2 replies on “One Word”

This was very uplifting. Read your book and a few friends of ours want to do a home bible study. We have to wait for covid to subside or a vaccine to get together. Thank you for sharing.

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