SEVERAL DAYS AGO I saw one of the scariest things I have ever seen in my entire life. It wasn’t a horror movie, it wasn’t the news, and it wasn’t a world ban on smoothies. (Though I honestly can’t imagine anything more frightening than that!) In fact, the reason for my terror came from a very unlikely source.
Laugh all you like, but I’m serious. It all started when I decided to look up a simple word. A word that is so common that I had never thought to investigate its grammatical meaning. Love.
I don’t know what I was hoping to find, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the answer I was given. Ready for this?
Our dictionary describes love as being “an intense feeling of deep affection.”
Yup. We’re in big trouble.
No wonder everything has become chaos!! If this is our view on what charity truly is, then it all makes sense. We’re not only degrading love with such a definition, we threaten an entire host of qualities and responsibilities that are a direct result of those four simple letters.
Scripture’s definition of love is quite a different story. It actually takes up an entire chapter. One might even argue that the Bible itself is the story of love. Mankind’s redemption certainly would not have been made possible without it.
True love is so opposite of what we’re forced to witness in the modern world that it doesn’t even belong in the same sentence. Regardless of this, “worldly” love has steadily sneaked its way into the lives of all. This single falsehood has wreaked havoc on our culture. Think I’m being too harsh? Let’s do a little comparison…
Granted, we will never be able to fully live up to the Bible’s standard of love. Only Christ has been successfully able to do that. However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. The world’s definition of love may be an easier code to live by, but in the end, it always leaves its host emptier than before. I’ve heard it put this way, “Short-term fun doesn’t translate to long-term happiness.”
The idea that love is just a feeling is simply an excuse to condone the unthinkable and avoid what is responsible. Why? Because true love is a call to action. It is hard work. It is uncomfortable.
However, the benefits and rewards are a hundred times more fulfilling. Your relationships with others will overflow with purpose, and (more importantly) your connection with God will thrive.
But how do we combat this attack on the word love? How do we disprove this lie that has associated itself with charity?
We live. It’s that simple. We as Christians and as temporary citizens of this Earth, need to live in a way that boldly promotes true love for all to see. This doesn’t mean alienating those whose opinions differ from you or condemning sin as soon as it catches your eye. I’ve always liked to say that being a Christian means being anti-sin, NOT anti-sinner.
After all, the well-known song clearly states, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Not by our judgment. Not by our compromises. Not by our silence. Our love.
Does this mean we will succeed in expressing this love 100% of the time? Of course not! This is something I struggle with daily and will continue to struggle with. We are simply called to replicate love’s greatest example (Christ) to the best of our abilities. God will take care of the rest.
I challenge you and I challenge everyone to truly think about what love means to you. It’s an eye-opening experience. It’s even a little scary. Just remember that as a child of God, you are showered by the greatest love ever known to the universe.
I’ll leave you all with these two verses. They’re common and misrepresented at times, but I never get tired of hearing them.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Keep calm and love on!