1 John is so full of the word “love” it has to give the Rambo types in the theological world ulcers. It’s probably why Mark Driscoll may stay away from it.
But the concept of “love” is what needs work. We have this mushy definition of, “I am what I am and you need to accept and affirm all of it or you don’t love me.”
We need a reworking of the definition, because loving the neighbor as Christ commands is far beyond this current use of “love.”
Loving your neighbor is learning to “bless those who curse you.” This is far beyond the definition of “love” we have today.
To truly love someone is to have the ability to bring truth into their lives without being harmful. It is placing what is Kingdom rightness in front of people and allowing them to deal with it. They may accept it. They may not. It’s not up to us. But our love for others should compel us to want Kingdom rightness for their lives.
The definition of “Kingdom rightness” gets messy, to be sure. That is why the first part of the great commandment is so crucial: Love God. When we love God and free ourselves from manipulation, we see his radical love for us. His radical love also brings Kingdom rightness into our lives… and that gets uncomfortable. He doesn’t do it to be maniacal. He does it because he knows what is best.
John’s love is far beyond our current “fluffy” junk. It is radical. It does not fear.