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…because He first loved us.

Weekly Devotionals

…because He first loved us.

Growing up, I didn’t say “I love you” a lot…most certainly not around the house.  It wasn’t that I didn’t feel loved.  I felt very loved.  It wasn’t because I didn’t love my family.  I love them tremendously.  But I think as a 2nd-generation Korean-American with extremely conservative 1st-generation Korean parents, the words “I love you” seemed awkward!  Maybe it was the lack of quality time together due to my parent’s time-consuming labor-intensive jobs.  Or perhaps it was the cultural differences, the language barrier, or a generational gap.   Either case, we simply weren’t a family that said “I love you”.  Whenever I did, it was through a Christmas or Birthday card.  

When I became a parent, I wanted to be very intentional in closing this gap of awkwardness between my generation and my children’s generation.  The chasm we experienced with our parents generation was something I wanted to literally make “a thing of the past.”  So I try to be active and present in the little things by attending their school concerts and playing with them after school.  The other thing I wanted to be intentional about was saying “I love you.”  With three boys at home, I find myself saying it at least a few time a day.  Usually the conversation goes as such:

me: I love you buddy.

son:  OK

I’m still getting used to that response, but one night, I spoke to my oldest (who was 4-years old at the time) while getting ready for bed.

me: I love you buddy.

son:  OK

me:  Do you know why I love you?

son: Why?

me:  Because you are my son.  Do you know why else I love you?

son: Why?

me:  Because Jesus loved us first.

son: Why?

me: <crickets chirping in the background>

The innocence of the question hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve known the Lord nearly all my life.  1 John 4 is not an unfamiliar chapter to me.  I have verse 12 hung above my kitchen table.  Verse 19 “We love because He first loved us.” is a response that I have been known to share with those seeking the Lord.  But that night in my son’s bedroom, all I could murmur in response was “He just does.” while muttering under my breath “I honestly don’t know.”

The thing was…that week was a rough one.  I didn’t perform well at work.  I disappointed my friends.  I was an absent father and a stubborn husband.  At that moment, the idea of the Almighty God loving someone like me was unfathomable!  BUT I knew He did.  I know He does!  And when “reality” finally came around to giving me a swift kick in the rear, I realized (with a heart of gratitude) that the Lord who loves me still, is the same Lord who loves my son.  No matter how much I mess up, Jesus will still love me.  No matter how much my son messes up, Jesus will still love him!  What a blessed assurance, especially as a father!

That moment was a reminder of our Lord’s faithfulness.  He never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He was the same during my parent’s generation, as He is for mine, and will be for my son’s generation.

There are still many things that my parents do that I don’t understand.  And there are even more things that my kids do that I don’t understand.  But I take comfort in knowing that from generation to generation, the Lord is faithful.  It took a 4-year old to remind me of that.