That was the custom number plate on a car that was dawdling in the middle lane of the motorway this morning. As I approached I was feeling mildly irritated by the dawdling but couldn't help but smile when I read the plate. I know I wasn't the object of that sentence but at the same time just reading those words cheered me up. As I passed the car I saw it was being driven by a middle aged lady, who obviously aware that having such a number plate meant many inquiring looks from other motorists, kept her eyes trained dead ahead. In that brief moment I thought of how how the person who gave her that number plate must have loved her. Then, after returning my eyes to the road ahead, I thought about how much she must love him (?) to actually drive around with that plate on her car. The number plate was both an embarrassingly public declaration of love, but also a very public acceptance of that love.
It gave me a warm glow at the time.
Love needs to be public. Somehow a love that we keep to ourselves and hide away from others is not really complete. The public declaration of an internal feeling lends it a substance and reality that it lacks when only a secret. Not only that, but when public that love can benefit others around who witness it. God's love for us was made public in the cross of Christ (1 John 3:16) and continues to be made public when those who God loves take up their own crosses, discipleship. When we live according to the radical demands of the gospel it is not a burden but a gift (1 John 5:3). we don't live in denial of ourselves to show how much we can love, but to show how much we are loved by God and our acceptance of that love. Just like that lady's number plate showed first that she was loved, and only then that she loved back, our lives should show that "We love because God first loved us." (1 John 4:19)