It’s hard to define love in a Biblical context—in John 15:12, we are told to love like Christ: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Does that mean that we do not truly love until we sacrifice our own life to save theirs? Initially, I found these thoughts discouraging. How can I do as God commands if I am not consistently putting my life in danger for others?
Upon further study, I realized that God does not refer to love as just an emotion, as we tend to think of it today. Love is an action, and not just one, like dying for a friend—it is a mindset that defies our selfish nature. We get so caught up in what we believe God’s plan is for us that we refuse to see God’s true will that is evident and working every day. Matthew 22:37 says that “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. The implications of this command do not relay passivity; rather, we as Christians should strive to go out of our way to love others and to show the love of Christ to others. Think of the example that Jesus gave us: he spent his life preaching the Good News wherever he was led. There were no “working hours” for our savior. He used every possible opportunity to spread love and to be the true example of love.
Love is the stamp across our foreheads that announces our faith. Love is a truth that we live every day, and as a result should show in every relationship we have (not just our family and closest friends). This is not to say that you should stay in abusive or unhealthy relationships due to the obligatory chains of guilt disguised as love; love can be setting boundaries so that they can be the version of themselves God made them to be. As 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or 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. Love never ends”.
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