Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4.8
There are many who love without professing faith and many who profess faith do not always come across as loving - or indeed loveable! Yet the Bible teaches that the source of love is God. Not only that but love is God's essence. This is significant because it obliges us to get to grips with this most elusive and compelling of qualities if we are going to grow in our faith.
Love has many faces and, from a Christian perspective, all but one of them are false - or, at least, defective. The exception is the love which comes from God and was expressed to the world in the person of Jesus. The love of God in Christ is total, unconditional and free. The implications which spring from this revelation are huge...
For a start it means that we can do nothing to earn or deserve God's love. Indeed even to try is blasphemous. We must receive it as a gift, accepting that God loves us as we are, not as we wish we were or according to the carefully manicured profile we show the world, nor even the awful reality which leads to self-loathing. The corollary is, of course, that we must love others in the same way, especially those we dislike or regard as enemies.