For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
Love is such an overused word, it has almost lost its meaning. The English language is frustrating, because it only gives us one word for such a profound word. To be able to say, “I love watermelon” shouldn’t be the same word as saying, “I love you,” to a child at their birth.
Love has been overused in the Christian faith as well. We use the word “love” every week in prayer, Scripture, music, and/or the sermon. But, has it lost its power?
Love is challenging, hard, and demanding. God calls us to love, often in situations when it would be easier to ignore, or even hate. “Love your neighbor as yourself!” I served a church in Northwest Indiana, just outside the city of Gary, throughout much of the 1990’s. White-Flight was a constant reality. When an African American family would move into a neighborhood, unethical realtors would go door-to-door encouraging homeowners to move, before “property values go down.” The vast majority of homeowners made the move, unwilling to stay and show Christian love to their new “neighbors.” Sadly, most rationalized the move and compartmentalized their decisions, so that it didn’t affect their faith.
Real love has its challenges. It takes sacrifice, endurance, and principles. Love is often less an emotion, and more an intellectual commitment based on what the faith community believes is proper. Today, pray for the situations in your life where loving is difficult, even damaging. Think about where you may have made your love too small and limited. Ask God to make love so imbedded in your soul, that all you say and do is defined by love’s values.
Deep love is life-changing, both for you and those around you. God can do great things with those who love.