Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18 NIV
Love is one of the most excellent experiences of human existence. From the time we enter this world, we seek and receive love. Surrounded by the love of parents and family, we come to expect this kind of love from all. As we mature, we grow in the types of love we experience; love for family, friends, partners, and even puppies.
We also know that sometimes love is used too casually or misrepresented, which is not love at all. Today's verse warns us against two such situations. First, when actions are not consistent with words, it is not love. For example, If someone says they love you, then intentionally inflict harm, it's not love but abuse. The second is much like it when love is expressed falsely. Someone says it but doesn't truly mean it. Sadly, sometimes love is used as a tool of manipulation. (Read 1 Corinthians 13 for examples of what love is.)
The problem is as much as we love to be loved and we want to love, as humans, we don't always love perfectly. We need the help that comes from God. The Father sent his Son as an example of what love can and should look like. In his departing, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that perfect love can live within us.
God, we thank you for your unending perfect love. We confess we have not loved you and others as we should. Our actions have not always been consistent with our words, and we have been false. Forgive us and help us love more perfectly through you, our Triune God. Amen.