These things I command you, so that you will love one another. [John 15vs17]
The classic crooner, Julio Iglesias, once sang a song that was dedicated “to all the girls he’s loved before.” I can only imagine how long that list is! But if I tried to write a list of everything I’ve loved before, it would be impossibly long as well.
Let me think of the things that I’ve loved just today: My wife. My kids. My car. My coffee. My computer… See how quickly I broke off from people to things?
In our culture, we love stuff.
Love, in our way of thinking, describes an internal positive feeling, an attraction or affirmation of someone or something. In a sense, we’re saying, “I feel good when I think about him/her/them/it.”
But love, in the biblical understanding, is defined in relationships.
The reason this is important to understand is because of the commandment that Jesus gave, which is essentially to “love God and love others.” If we apply our cultural understanding of “love,” then we walk away thinking that all we have to do is “feel good about” God and others. But the commandment is so much more than that. And it’s super important that we understand that difference.
To love someone is demonstrated when we engage in deep relationship with them and begin doing life together. Love creates a bond that disappointment or anger cannot separate. Love is a covenant; a promise, rooted in something much bigger than feeling. It is a commitment to grow more and more inseparable with one another.
Now, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. And love your neighbor as you do yourself.