Today I came across perhaps the most profound statement ever spoken: “‘I have loved you deeply,’ says the Lord” (Malachi 1:2). God’s chosen people did not deserve it. Neither do I.

The people’s response is unbelievable: “Really? How have you loved us?” What an increidble amount of chutzpah these people had to question God’s love for them! He had shown his love countless times throughout their history. How could they possibly doubt that he loved them?

The greatest commandments are to love God and our neighbor, but God loved us first, and our love is impossible without his (1 John 4:7101619). He loved us so much that he sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him. He loved us so much that he would sacrifice himself for us. “We love because he first loves us” (1 John 4:19). Thank God for loving us!

“I have loved you deeply.” I can’t get past that statement. I do not question it outright with my words, but do I question it in my attitudes or actions? Do I show a disbelief for his love by what I do or do not do? Do I question it by how I treat others? Do I question it by not acting in faith to his calling?

Even still … even though … even now — God says gently, “I have loved you deeply … and I always will.”

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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