We often hear (or see) the phrase, love is love, throughout modern culture. Especially throughout the month of June – Pride month. I’ve seen bumper stickers, t-shirts, advertisements, heck, even product labels on candles and hand soaps at Bath & Body Works, that display these three short words.
The truth is – these simple, little words are anything but little or simple. Love is a very big deal and the concept of love is very complex.
True love is not easy.
We like to think that love is love. Plain. Uncomplicated. Effortless. Natural.
The bully at school or work. The neighbor across the street with opposing political views. The family member holding a grudge. The boss who overlooks you. The one who has abused you.
Love can be challenging, painful, resentful, and confusing.
Love can masquerade in many disguises – lust, affirmation, lies, flattery, jealously, and hate, to name a few.
Love can be sneaky, secretive, and deceitful.
The reality is love is so much MORE than love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
Love is selfless and is best modeled in Jesus laying down His life for the sins of a flawed humanity. We were never going to measure up or be enough to reconcile ourselves back to God so God sent His Son to rescue us from our mistakes, shortcomings, and fleshly desires (John 3:16). The Creator of the Universe longs to be reunited with His creation and that reconciliation was made possible by the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
True love conquered death at the cross. No other kind of love can or will ever be greater than that on this side of eternity.
If our intent is to love truly, madly, and deeply, then we must be noble, unconditional, and righteous in our love.
That means truthful and unbiased.
True love is unconditional for the betterment of oneself, another individual and/or the greater society.
True love does not lie or affirm toxic behavior, beliefs, or circumstances. Doing so is like consuming poison for the soul – it kills and destroys the goodness God offers to every human being ever created. Consider the severity of handing someone a gun to kill themself…that sort of assisted suicide is no different than supporting or encouraging someone’s actively uninhibited and sin-seeped life.
True love is present, understanding, compassionate and impartial. It assists in carrying the heavy load by sharing the weight of one’s burden (Galatians 6:2). Love is an action, a way of life, and a conscious decision. It is a willingness to love at all costs for healing and restoration. It promotes seeking the best version of oneself through God’s perfect design and purpose (Ephesians 2:4-10) rather than self-seeking the assertion of one’s flawed authenticity (i.e. “my truth”). Love can sometimes hurt before it heals, but love never leaves or gives up.
Love always chooses to stay even when it desperately wants to go.
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)
Love is the greatest commandment because when properly executed it fulfills all the other commands (laws). Knowing this, love should be the outflow of a Christian’s life and the driving force behind everything a Christian thinks, believes, says and does.
Our love, without condition, is what sets a Christian apart from the rest of the world.
In Galatians 6:1-10, Paul reminds Christians of their responsibility to hold each other accountable. There are surely reasons behind Paul’s wise words during that period of time but certainly his message is just as relevant and applicable today.
Christians should care about finding the lost and leading them to the cross as well as uplifting and walking alongside those who share the faith. But also don’t forget that at the completion of life each person will be held accountable [to God] for how they spent their time on earth.
I don’t know about you, but I want to make Jesus’ last commandment (Matthew 28:19-20) my first priority and it begins with true, biblical love. In today’s culture, it is vitally important that true love BE TRUTHFUL (meaning, not condemning NOR condoning). We can engage, interact, befriend, and love those who are different than us and in fact, we must! Still, it is important that in our love we do not affirm, sway or be influenced by the world but instead remain rooted in the Word.
As you consider the words of Paul (below), it is my prayer that everyone whom you encounter be transformed by the power of true love BEING love.
“To those who are without (outside) the Law, [I became] as one without the Law, though [I am] not without the law of God, but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.To the weak I became [as the] weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means [in any and every way] save some [by leading them to faith in Jesus Christ]. And I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings along with you.”1 Corinthians 9:21-23 (AMP)