Let us take this opportunity to be thankful for what our parents have done for us, how much they have sacrificed, and how much they have given up just to love us.
The Core of the Christian Message
What is the core of Christian message? You see that in verse nine, he says, “God’s Love was revealed among us in this way. God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him.” That is the core Gospel, the core message of the good news. God’s love was revealed that he sent his son into the world so that we might live through him. He was expressed in different ways from 1 John, but when you read the gospel of John, it was expressed in a different way, but probably in a more familiar way to you. It says, “for God so loved the world that he might, he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” That is the core Gospel. And this time I realized, I mean, I heard this so many times, but this time I realized that this core message was expressed in terms of the relationship between the parent and a child.
That God’s love was revealed in this way that God sent his only son to be sacrificed. How difficult that must have been for God. I’m not quite sure how God felt or God feels because God is very different from us, but what John is trying to describe to us is this is how much God loves us. So he uses our understanding of the relationship between parents and children and if you all are to do this, how difficult it must have been. God did that even though it’s very, very difficult to do so. God did that, that much God loves us. That’s what John is trying to describe.
The most difficult thing for a parent to do is to sacrifice his or her only child because their child is the most precious thing in the world. So to sacrifice your own child, that is the most difficult thing. You want to give everything to your children as what you want to do. The other day I was talking with my son and somehow a topic of giving came out and I gave him something. By text, I said, “Josh, I’ll give you anything for you.” He texted me right back and said: “Thanks Dad, now I know what that means.” I can give anything to my own son.
It is hard for a parent to sacrifice his or her child because they’re the most precious thing in the world. But that was what God did for us. He gave his only son to die for us. That much, God loves us. That was what John said in verse nine. We’ll read it again. “God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him.” Parental love was so special that John described God’s love using parent’s love. Probably among all the love you see in the world, the closest to God’s love is the parent’s love. So when you read the ten commandments, the ten commandments can be sharply divided into two. The first four is about the love of God, that you are to love God. The next-next five is about you are to love your neighbour, so love your God and love your neighbour, it can be divided into two. Right in between at the end of “demand for love for God”, there is parent’s love.
Maybe parent’s love is in between love for God and love for a neighbour so it’s right there. So I think that closest to God’s love in this world is parent’s love. Parent’s love is not reciprocal love, their love is not in response to the love they receive from their children. It is not two-way love, it is one-way love. In Korean, they call this love “내리사랑” (sending love), meaning to send love. Love never goes up, love always goes down, as the water flows down, the love always goes down. Of course, when the children do not appreciate the parent’s love, they feel hurt and well they are, human beings too. They get disappointed and they get sometimes even frustrated and you, you’re giving, giving, giving, and the children just take it and don’t even appreciate it and take it for granted. Then the parents feel hurt. It’s not because they wanted, but you know, they want their love to be appreciated. But that does not stop them from loving them. Just because they feel frustrated and hurt, that doesn’t stop them from loving them. It doesn’t matter what, the parents love is always constant.
So, there is always somehow, pain, in a parents’ heart, because children can never love their parents as parents love them. As I said, it’s downward love, it can never go up. The children can never love as much as the parents love their children. So like you can not love God as much as God loves us. It is downward love. No matter how much you try to love God, you cannot love God as much as God loves us. So God’s love and parent’s love are always painful love. Jesus showed that painful love very well while he was on earth.
I thank God that God put his love in parents so that the parents, may love their children with God’s love. Somehow God installed his love in parent’s hearts so that parents can love the children as God loves us and we are thankful for that. Without that love, we would not have learned what it means to love and what it means to be loved since we were young. Our parents are the people who taught us the first love. As soon as we were born, they showed us the first love. So through parents, as we grew up, we learn the love. We have survived the first few years because of that love.
When I was young, I was very, very weak and very picky about food and always sick, it was hard to even survive. So my mother had to pay special attention to me whenever there’s a party, she always took me to the party and it’s because I didn’t eat period. In Korea, bananas were very, very precious when I grew up, but here, bananas are very cheap. But when I grew up, bananas were not just around. But I was the only one who grew up with bananas. That’s how I grew up and then I still remember a ringing in my voice. She always had me on her back and as she always said by singing “my child doesn’t die on me, don’t die on me” because I was always sick. I was so weak and I still remember that voice ringing in my ears. I survived because my parents and my mother’s love and my mother’s love helped me survive. So, it is really to do with my mother’s love.
I also experienced the same thing with my own child, when Grace was born. My wife has very unique blood and we didn’t know when Josh was born because it was all fine. But after Joshua, an antibody formed and then it started attacking Grace when Grace was born. Since Josh was so easy, the second one, we didn’t even think about it and we weren’t worried. But at the end, the baby was dying actually in the mother’s tummy. So one day I got a phone call and the doctor said that this is an emergency case, you have to come right away. So I went to the hospital and the doctor told me, “your daughter has a ten percent chance to live, do you want to do the C section right now or not, or just let her die?” I said, “of course, we’ll hold onto the 10 percent, that’s what we are going to hold onto.” After that my wife was knocked out because she gave so much blood and then somehow we had to use mom’s blood to do the blood transfusion and then the Jaundice Level was going up and up. If it started attacking the brain then she’ll get brain damage.
We were waiting and looking for blood everywhere. But there was nobody who had the same blood. So from that moment on, I was praying like crazy every day, in the chapel and in the hospital. I was praying for the child and at that time I still remember thinking “I’m not looking for a healthy baby when I leave this hospital, I just want her to survive without big brain damage.” That’s what I prayed for. At the time I was living in downtown and I came home and there was another church member who actually who lived with us, she came from Montreal and she was there. So I was in the washroom, running the water, her heart and how much I cried a why this happening? Uh, so I’m in. And then we finally found blood from Vancouver. So now when I came out, I came out with a healthy baby and now she’s married and she’s fine and living in Boston and all that stuff. You know, parents love, that’s very special. As I experienced my mother’s love, the children also experience a parent’s love. We thank God for giving his love to our parents. We thank our parents, for their sacrificial love.
Love One Another
The true maturity is when you start appreciating the parent’s love. This is what John said to us again, I’ll read it, “Beloved says God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us love one another. Love makes everything so beautiful. Love brings colour to our gloomy, dark world. Love brings healing. Love brings hope. Love makes our life perfect. If you don’t learn anything in your life, the only thing that we need to learn actually is love. Even if we don’t learn anything in the world, if we learn how to love, then you are perfect because love makes everything perfect. Saint Paul said this, “and now faith, hope, and love abide these three, and the greatest of these is love.” That is the greatest, greatest wisdom, the greatest gift, greatest skill, greatest character.
Love. Let us love one another. Let us have a parent’s heart. In Santiago, in the evening, some people went out and they gave me the key to wait for them and they didn’t come home until 12, 12:30. I started worrying like parents, you know, waiting for children. The next day one Deacon came up to me and said: “how much do we rent, we were like teenagers worrying about parents waiting for them at home and things like that.” If we have a parent’s heart towards each other, that’s what love is. Let us build this community with the love of Jesus Christ shown in our parents.
Let us take this time and opportunity to be thankful for what our parents did for us, how much they have sacrificed, how much they have given up just to love us.