The word in itself invokes a whirlwind of thoughts, emotions and wonder to each one of us. For some, it's a warm fuzzy feeling, perhaps likes butterflies in your tummy or somersaults in your heart. For others, love is a peaceful place of contentment, of rest and completeness. Still to others, love is a fleeting thought, a passing hope that is not attainable; to reach and experience it, simply costs too much.
In the US and other western cultures, it seems we throw around the word 'love' quite carelessly to the point where it has truly lost its meaning. We use the word love to describe infatuation, lust, familiarity of feeling or acquaintance. It's used to describe joy, happiness and pleasure without a second thought. And, while I certainly am not in a position to judge another, I can take a look into my own heart and how I say I love you.
To do this, however, I cannot omit what the Word of God, the Bible, says about love. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, going as far to say, "...I am bankrupt without love."
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force it self on others, isn't always "me first", doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.....I Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Message)This is how Jesus loves. I am constantly amazed by His true, consistent, unwavering love for each of us. No matter what we have or will do, He loves us. You cannot run so far as to outrun the love of God for you. His love is uncompromising, unconditional and without end. It is impossible to comprehend the depths of His love but I want more and more to experience it. I want to be like Him in that I love despite anything else. I want to be consumed by His love and see others how He sees them. I want to love as Jesus loves!
Jesus loves the unlovable, those ostracized by society and by us. The homeless, the downtrodden, the abused, the abandoned, young & old alike. He loves the sinner and the saint as equals. That, my friend, is hard to wrap your human head around! The soccer Mom is as loved and cherished as the one who gives herself away in the night, exchanging her worth for money. The loving family man is just as important to God as the man who sits on death row for taking more lives than he let live. The unworthy list goes on and on.
Your child, my child and the orphans in untold numbers across the globe are children of God. Why do we find loving people so difficult, so impossible at times? I think often times it is because we find it easier to cast aside someone full of wrong doings than to love them as Jesus demands of us. We reason that it is simply just too hard for us, they have done too much evil to others or whatever excuse we can muster. Truth is, its easier to judge them than to love them...that would require sacrifice.
Love. The most powerful thing in this life, isn't it? Some yield it as a way of control and manipulation, but that isn't true love they possess. That 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love is God-filled love that surpasses all our human expectations and assumptions. It is without error, perfect in every detail. Love does not 'play favorites' in whom may give or whom may receive. It reminds me so much of Grace, in that is it completely unmerited yet a gift waiting to be opened.
"For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run." 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (Passion Translation)
I want to love like that...