Love, in the life of a Christian, is not optional. In fact, not only is it not optional, it is a revealing factor of salvation. Amazing and scary all at the same time. 

Love, is not optional for me. Yet so many times it is. Like, I get to choose whether I love someone or not. Does that make sense? 

I was abused as a child, by my biological father. I was very angry as a child, mostly at him and his family. I stopped seeing him in visitations when I was seven because all I could see when I looked at him was a liar, an abuser, and a stranger. I felt nothing for him. 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

In the Summer of 2000, in the mountains of California, as a 12 year old I read this verse and had my first honest conversation with God. 

Are you kidding me? I asked. Does that mean I have to love him too? 

No reply.

Because if it does, I'm not sure how we're going to work this out. Didn't you see what happened? Don't you see how altered my life is because of him?

"Yes. Yes I see. And I see how your altered life is going to change the course of many. Many who would have become statistics. Many who would have felt so terribly alone without your story. I see you and I see them."

I'm not saying as a 12 year old I comprehended fully what God was calling me to, but I did realize it was so much bigger than me. 

Over the years, this love we are taught to have because of salvation has become more and more natural. But it had to start somewhere. God began the ripple effect of life-changing love when He predestined His Son to pay for the sin of all mankind. That stuns me. 

He saw the evil in us and it grieved Him. So He loved. Sacrificially and completely. 

I want to do that.

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Written by Julianna from The Girl That Sings

**If you're just joining us, first you'll notice I'm behind. But we don't talk about that ;) For the month of October, I'm sharing 31 verses that changed my life. Do you have some too? Share them with us on Facebook!