Sunday, October 10

What is Love?

No, not the 1993 song by Haddaway. The dictionary describes "love" as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend; a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart." But what is love? (Photo credit to: Women at the Cross)

Well, before I go any further, understand that I am not going as deep as I could, merely scratching the surface of this divine gift. Whether you choose to adhere to what is written here or not is your choice and yours alone, not mine. The verses about love are taken from God's Word. Verses on love are scattered throughout the Bible, and many verses imply love. If we were to go over each and every one, we may as well type up the majority of God's Word. Proverbs 15:17 gives a good example. "A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate." While this is merely a wisdom, love in many forms is talked about in the Bible.

Other such wisdom, Proverbs 17:9 for example, says "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." This is true. Solomon was one to speak often of love. In the Song of Solomon, 8:6-7, he tells us, "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."

St. Paul also often spoke of love. Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." He goes on in Ephesians 5:33 to say, "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." When St. Paul speaks of love as a virtue, he says, "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Colossians 3:14) Even the philosopher Aristotle once said, "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." I tell you that there is an overall point of this, but I am providing the Biblical definitions of love so that we may better understand what love truly is. We are told that, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1st Peter 4:8) We are later told that God is love - "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1st John 4:8) There is also no fear in love, 1st John 4:18, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Perhaps the most well-known and best passages that describe what love is and should be is found in 1st Corinthians 13:1-8;13. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails... and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

We also find in Galatians that love is one of the fruit of the spirit. But what is love, truly? 1st John 3:16 gives us that very answer. "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." Love is found in Christ! How many people throughout history, and even today, have found love in Christ? I know that I have. Jesus is love.

Christ's sacrifice, the Messiah himself humbling himself by putting himself "lower than the angels," (Psalm 8:5, Hebrews 2:7) is the ultimate show of love. For the love of his Creation, he gave himself. Psalm 33:5-6 says, "He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth."

God created the Universe, and in his love, created us, and though we fell from our proper place, we have a way to be reconnected with our Creator, to be with him after death: to accept Jesus, his one and only Son, as our savior, ask for forgiveness of our sins, and be saved from the penalty of the eternal fire. As said earlier, this involved theology, not mere philosophy or logic. Logically, if the Creator makes his creation, and it falls from grace, he provides a link so that it may come back to him. That link is Christ. God is love, and we shows us how to love through his Son and through his word. Love between a man and a woman, between friends, between people and their pets, between the Creator and the Creation, we can learn valuable things if we only take the time to stop, look, and observe.

Some liken love unto God. Say you are a skeptic of God. "God does not exist because I have never seen him, heard him, or touched him." My response would be, "Do you believe love exists?" To which the skeptic replies, "Of course love exists." "Have you ever seen, touched, or heard love?" The skeptic thinks for a moment, "No. But I have felt it." In the same way, I, among so many others, have felt God's presence, felt his love. God is love, and we can feel love. We can feel his presence. The philosopher Plato was correct when he said, "He whom love touches not walks in darkness." Those whom God loves, and they love back, will not walk blind in darkness, but will know that light, for the light of the world has come. (John 1:4-5) Will we ever truly experience true love? There is only ever one way to experience it: we must accept the sacrifice made for us.

I thank you for taking the time to read this entry of "The Truth." If you have an questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to comment below, email, or visit the facebook page. Take care, dear reader, and may God bless. Troy Hillman 

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