No one would disagree that love is the subject of countless poems, stories, and songs. But how many of these truly capture the essence of love?
One person’s definition of love may differ from another’s. Some would say love is found in family, where each member comes home to comfort, acceptance, and familiarity. The love between a husband and wife, committed under any and all circumstances … others would claim that’s true love. There’s also a mother’s love, which drives her to unimaginable sacrifices without the reward of recognition.
But what business do I have in writing about love when I fail so much in it? Oh, I know how to love. I love my husband. I love my children. I love my parents. I love my church family. Certainly, I know how to love when I am loved back. But, there will be many moments when love is not reciprocated or, at least, it doesn’t feel like it. So sometimes I’ll react by withholding my love. But this ought not to be so for the person who has been given a new heart and made alive again after being dead in sin. Withholding love for others will soon pain my own heart and eat me up inside. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
A few days ago, I struggled with this. My son Gabriel was being difficult to love, and I’m sure I was not the object of his deepest affections either. The day seemed to drag. I felt like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, but it was not cute. I was stubborn enough to think I could take this until the end of the day, but The Lord got me up. What is the answer, Lord? How do I get through this? One word: LOVE.
What is love? Do I even know what that means? I thought I did. But my love was conditional. “I will love you if you respect me, if you cause me no distress, and if you love me back.” God showed me otherwise. He showed me, through His Word, what true love is.
“In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too.” (1 John 4:10-11, TLB)
True love originates from God. God is love. On the other hand, I did not love God. Moreover, I turned the other way and placed my love on things that were in complete opposition to Him. But, He loved me in my unloveliness. He gave me a new heart to love Him and to love others. I have no excuse. The strength to love, even when it’s hard, will come from Him.
(Photo Credit: laihiu)