I was inspired to write this blog after having a different revelation to the popular Bible verses found in John 3, specifically in verses 16 and 17. It says, and I think you can somehow recite this well, “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The phrase ‘whoever believes in Him’ shouted out the concept of ‘freedom of choice’ to me. I have always been amazed with the fact that God created us as beings that have the luxury to choose. We are not meant to be blind followers and lovers of God. He wants us to love Him back out of our own choice. In one of Rick Warren’s devotional articles, he mentioned: ‘Love is a choice. God wants us to choose to believe and love Him. He didn’t and won’t force us to love Him because He knows love can’t be forced.’
The Christmas holidays often make me ponder on this thought: God sent His Son, Jesus, to us in a humble way: born in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. This is definitely because He wants us to see how He humbles Himself for us and how willing He is to sacrifice what He loves most and what He cherishes the most for us, even when we can’t often give back the love He deserves.
I spent my Christmas holiday with relatives on my mother’s side. I don’t often go home so most of my nieces and nephews are shy towards me. Their parents could force them to ‘kiss’ and ‘hug’ me but it is different when they do it out of their own will. It took a few games, presents, and sweets before they became friendly towards me. I felt happy with the way they responded. That experience made me think of how God woos us. He wants us to choose to love Him. I saw God as a very sincere and selfless lover wooing us to see how He loves us so and is very patient in waiting for us to love Him back.
In the same way, I learned that God won’t force us to love anyone. We all have the freedom to choose who we want to love. As for me, I choose to do my best to love everyone around me with a 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 kind of love from now on. It’ll be hard but I know that God will help me out with that choice.