It is a word that is thrown around a good bit today, and while many seem to think they know what it means, we are oft made to wonder because of the way it is used. Some think it is an emotion, and hence, they decide if they love a person by a flighting “feeling” that we call love. There is a friendship kind of love, when you might feel emotions and when you make choices to help or aid a person because you are their friend. There is the kind of love that is based on lust, and when the lust is satisfied, the “love” is gone. And then there is agape love—love which is a choice to seek the good of the one loved simply because the lover cares deeply about the person loved. This is the kind of love God has for us, and the kind of love we need to have for God.
As we talk about this word, we need to ask ourselves some deep questions and answer these questions.
Can we disagree and still love each other?
Does love have to mean, “it’s okay to do whatever you want to do?”
Can we love and still be disappointed in each other’s behavior / actions?
Does love allow for discipline of the one (s) you love?
Can someone tell me that I am wrong or am headed the wrong direction in my life and still love me?
Does love let someone fail?
If we understand the Biblical definition of love, then the answers to the above questions becomes obvious. If I really love a person, then we can disagree and still love (look out for and help) the other person. If I really love a person, then it is NOT ok for them to do whatever they want because it could cause them to lose their souls. Hence, I can love and still be disappointed in another’s’ actions (Do you think God is disappointed in our actions when we fail to love as he has loved?). Love will cause me to discipline the one loved, in the hope of them changing their lives and becoming what God intends for them to become. And, because I love, I must, in love, tell them that they are headed in the wrong direction, in the hopes that the person will change their lives and become what God wants them to become. And love will allow a person to fail, because, sadly, that is the only way some people will ever learn some things.
God loves us! He is always looking out for us, and provides us with our daily needs. He knows what is best for us because he created us in his image. And God wants us to love him in return. Hence, my response should be that I love him as well. Not a fleeting emotion that fades over time, but a decision I make daily to put him first in my life and give him the glory he deserves.
Please consider the following from Chris Moran, Mars Hill Church of Christ.
“I love him for loving me. I love him for allowing us to take part in something bigger than we are. I love him for trusting us to make a godly impact on those in our circle of influence. I love him for not leaving us alone in this dark world to figure things out on our own.
“I love him for allowing us to meet brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who are striving to do the same things we are. I love him for making me a part of his plan regardless of my flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses and sins. I love him for his goodness, his patience, his kindnesses, and his gentle and stern rebuke. I love him because he first loved me.
“I love him for making and sticking to the plan. I love him for not making us second-guess his judgments. I love him for being changeless in an ever changing world. I love him for giving me life, breath and mobility. I love him for freely giving his wisdom and instruction. I love him for first loving me. I love him for sending Jesus. I love him for hurting and suffering for me. I love him for sending us directions to eternal life and instructing us on how to direct others to him.
“I love him for his spiritual blessings in heavenly places. I love him for his material blessings in earthly places. I love him for allowing us to clearly see his invisible attributes. I love him for allowing me to mess up, fess up, learn and do better.
“I love him for seeing the good in me even when I can’t see it myself. I love him for not remembering my past after forgiving me for it. I love him for the strength he supplies daily. I love him for his grace and mercy that is new every morning. I love him for every morning, each new day that I am given. I love him for giving me another chance to prove to him how much I really do love him. I love him for allowing me to busy myself in his work.
Chris Moran, Mars Hill Messenger, August 6, 2017
Brethren, I love you and this church. I echo what Chris had to say in his article, and I pray for the day that the church may not be influence by the definitions the world uses, but by what God says. “Beloved, love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7