Love is All the Proof You Need

Love is All the Proof You Need

Love is All the Proof You Need 800 534 Andrew Hicks

Text:

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:12 NRSVue

Context: A contest to win special heart socks on Valentines Day and a profound passage from The Brother’s Karamazov.


Did anyone else grow up with a steady diet of apologetics? If so, I’m sorry.

For those who did not have the privilege of this lovely quirk of Christian culture let me explain the concept in brief.

Apologetics is anything but being apologetic in the straight forward English sense of the word. It comes from the Greek word apologia and means “defense.” In other words, it is a defense of the faith. What this usually boils down to is a bunch of argumentative “proofs” for why God exists. It also usually includes arguments against evolutionary biology and defenses of God that address suffering and pain in the world.

If you have talked with me much at all you know that I am NOT a fan of apologetics. I think when we teach this stuff to our children we end up making them defensive rather than curious. We teach them to argue about God rather than relate in love to God and neighbor.

I was reminded of this reality earlier this week when I won a pair of socks on Valentines Day from a contest where I had to be the first to give a reference to the Bible verse being quoted. The verse was the one given above from 1 John 4:12. I have been contemplating it ever since.

We get so bogged down sometimes in trying to “prove” God’s existence, but the bottom line is this: no one has ever seen God, but if we love God is visible through us. Apparently love is more convincing than all our arguing.

Fast forward to this morning when I stumbled across this passage from The Brother’s Karamazov which I recently started reading:

“No doubt it is devastating. One cannot prove anything here, but it is possible to be convinced.”

“How? By what?”

“By the experience of active love. Try to love your neighbor actively and tirelessly. The more you succeed in loving, the more you’ll be convinced of the existence of God and the immortality of your soul. And if you reach complete selflessness in the love of your neighbor, then undoubtably you will believe, and no doubt will even be able to enter your soul. This has been tested. It is certain.”

This passage from The Brother’s Karamazov is spot on. The conversation is between a woman who is having doubts in her faith about the existence of God and a wise monk who is trying to soothe her soul’s concerns. The wise monk’s response is brilliant and wonderful.

If you ever find yourself questioning God’s existence and wanting proof and certainty, then stop trying to come to an intellectually satisfying answer, get off your butt, and go love people actively and tirelessly. Apparently what we knew in our hearts is all we have ever needed to be certain about God. Love is all the proof you need.

Happy (late) Valentines Day 2024!!

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