This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. –1 John 4:10
If I had a dollar for the number of times that I’ve broken up a fight between two of my kids. Tom argues with Olivia. Olivia argues with Alyson. Alyson argues with Emily. Emily argues with Penny. Oh yeah, I’m married to Penny. That’s another matter entirely.
Whenever you get in the middle of some adolescent fight, besides permanent ear damage from the yelling, you’re likely to hear the age-old refrains: “He started it!” “She started it!” In the end, it’s generally pretty tough to figure out who started the fight. The first kid hit the second kid who shoved the first one who called the second a name who looked cross-eyed at the first, who . . . you get the picture.
Life doesn’t stray too far from the grade-school shoving matches. Who started the problems between the Arabs and the Israelis? Between the Shiites and the Sunnis in Iraq. Between Microsoft and Apple? Who can tell?
Some situations, however, can only be started from one direction. For example, the relationship between the power company and my computer is a circuit. Electrons flow from some coal-fired plant somewhere, through the lines to my house, into my computer and then back to the plant. Any break along the line can put a stop to that flow of electrons, but there’s no doubt to where the whole process starts. If the nice people at Aquila don’t set the turbines in motion, there’s no juice.
In the divine plan, I’m a useless creation until the power company begins the love circuit. Love flows between us and God, but there’s no doubt about where that love begins. Who started it? God started it. All too often, in the push and shove of life, we can forget who started what. That might not be all that important in a kid’s fight, but in our understanding of our relationship with God, we can’t afford to think we’ve started anything.