As jigsaw-puzzle enthusiasts can attest, few things are more frustrating than coming to the end of a challenging puzzle of hundreds or even thousands of pieces, only to discover that one piece is missing. Even though the rest of the picture may be beautiful, our eyes are immediately drawn to the empty space. The puzzle is incomplete.
Many people feel incomplete without someone to love. In this letter, John writes the good news that God’s love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12). What a wonderful truth: God’s love for us is an intentional part of our design. We are intricately and wonderfully made, and God’s love in us is that final piece that completes the puzzle. We are made to love and to be loved by our Creator.
The beginning of the passage focuses on the reason we love others. Scripture tells us that everyone who loves is born of God (vv. 7–8). When we act in love, we reflect God’s image. These verses may be confusing. Aren’t there people who love who are not born again? More accurately interpreted, John is saying that our own ability to love originates from God’s design for us. While some may not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they, too, were created in His image. They too were designed to love and be loved.
While we often think about love as something we desire, God has already demonstrated His love for us by giving His Son to die for us on the Cross. We are made complete both by being loved by God and by giving love to others. Perhaps that is why Jesus said the two greatest commands are to love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul, and to love others as yourself (see Matt. 22:36–40).