We talk about love all the time. Love is involved in everything we do every single day. We continuously tell our spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, animals we love them. We talk about how much we love our stuff. But what is love? Webster’s defines love as strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. The love of our families and friends that define many people’s lives. What about romantic love? That warm fuzzy feeling when you meet someone and start falling for them. The need to talk to them or just be with them every minute. The feeling you can’t live without that person and wondering how you had survived up to that point. These are the things the world tells us about love. So many advertisements, movies and books that define family, friendship and romantic love that has shaped our expectations from an early age.
But haven’t we all experienced broken love? Divorce, family feuds, severed friendships? Memories long gone of our hearts feeling like it would explode with all the love inside. To be replaced with desperation and deep, guttural pain. How can we go from these extremes? So many songs about the highs of love and just as many about the hurts. If God gives us the gift of love then why does he allow the hurt of love?
First of all, our human love is flawed. We are selfish and want our needs satisfied immediately. We look to man to fulfill our need for love. When our human nature takes over there are always consequences. John told us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
How many love the way Jesus did? This type of radical love is hard. It does not come easy like when we are first falling in love or the first time we hold our child. When that relationship starts to show cracks or that baby becomes a toddler our emotions kick into high gear. Paul told us love is an action, not an emotion. He said, love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Do we show love to others like this? If we don’t love this way, then it is easy to see why love can hurt.
When we truly love the way Paul described and understand the commandment from Jesus to love one another, as he loved us. (John 13:34) We can then identify our love emotions and what those feelings have cost us in the past.
When we trust with all our heart that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16), we learn what true love is.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for your son Jesus Christ who came to save us. We know He is the true meaning of love and sacrifice. We thank you for the ultimate price He paid for us on that cross. Please never let us forget the pain he endured at Calvary. Teach us through your Spirit the true meaning of love and how we can show the love of Jesus each day to this broken world. We thank you for the blessings love brings and help us to show it more to those in our path.
In Jesus name,