(Another Voice is second column I write for another local paper.)
Along with the Baptist church in the town we gave out a calendar at Christmas. The theme of the calendar is "God is Love", and each month has a different verse from the Bible on this theme. Each month I intend to explain a little of what that month's verse means.
February's verse is 1 John 4:7-8 "Love comes from God… because God is love."
Do you ever wonder why it is that humans have this inborn tendency to love? A friend of mine who works as a vet in Belfast was startled one evening when a local paramilitary leader broke down in tears in the surgery when he was told that his hamster had inoperable cancer. Even the hardest heart leaks love in some direction. Why is that? It's because we are made in the image of God - in other words when God made us he made us with the ability to love because that's what he himself is like. God is love.
Each time you enjoy the love of someone, or find yourself displaying love it is a reminder that that ability isn't yours - it is a gift from God. Without it, the world would be an even more terrible place: friendships would be impossible and all families would be marked with permanent and ugly strife.
And yet for some this may strike close to home. They have been badly hurt by family or friends, and there is a deep-seated anger and bitterness in their heart. It gnaws like a cancer. What hope is there? "Love comes from God… because God is love." God is the one who can remove from us a bitter and angry heart and replace it with a loving forgiving heart. In the words of Psalm 23, "He restores my soul". He does this only when we come seeking peace with him through his Son Jesus Christ. And when we do that we receive such love from him that it transforms all our other relationships.