-- Ephesians 5:1-2
Parents love their children. Even when their children make it hard to love them, we love them nevertheless. It's part of our design as human version 1.0; we parents just can't help it. And so it is with God since we are designed in His image. The message that God loves us, His children, is so often repeated in the New Testament that you would have to go out of your way to ignore it. And as our children imitate our behaviors and traits, Paul asks us to imitate God in the same way. We need to imitate Him in our love for one another, in our goodness towards all, in our forgiveness for when others wrong us, and in our patience with those who do not follow in His way. God does this for us and so we in turn should learn from that example and walk in the same loving way He does as best we can.
As parents, we understand that our children not only look like us to a great degree, but follow our example in what they say and do. When we do good things, they follow that. When we do bad things, they follow that too. When we say good things, our children repeat them. When we say bad things, our children can repeat them too, much to our embarrassment. Children have no greater example to follow than their parents. They learn to interact with the world through watching how we do it and imitating that example. As children, we look to our parents for how to do things. We don't know anything else for a very long time. We know that is why they are there and we love them because they love us and help us. We can learn the hard way that doing or saying the wrong things just because our parents did is not always acceptable. And so we learn to imitate the good examples and ignore the bad ones.
God gave us all the example we will ever need in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate example of the most free and generous love that ever was. We can all take great comfort in knowing that He loved us all so much that he gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. It is all the proof we will need of His love. So let us all walk together in love for God, for Christ, and for each other and imitate the example God has placed before us in Jesus as best we can.