“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Romans 15:12-13; NIV)
I am not an expert on matters dealing with feelings and concepts. But the idea of love as a concept fascinates me. The above verse when read starting from verse 10 speaks of something beyond the superficial, it a sublime life story of a man, who choose to die for His friends. A man who thought his friends worthy, willingly sacrificed himself for them.
I once heard a story of man who constantly was filled with jealousy and rage over his wife’s beauty the he constantly accused her of infidelity. And daily she would tell him, “I married you, it is you I love”. As the story has it, one day he returns home from work meets his wife and daughter in the living room chatting away. He requests to speak with her in the room. She walks in and he shuts the door, opens his brief case and brings out a small bottle. He empties the contents of the bottle on his wife; her face disfigured for life from that acid bath. And years and years after when the little girl is older, the man who walked out of the house after the act of cruelty sends a letter to the family he hurt and abandoned. He is alone now, dying of cancer, he begs his wife to let him come home, that she might take care of him. His daughter now narrating this story cannot comprehend her mother who is willing to take the man back.
I think this is what love is; Loving those that do not deserve it; loving those who hurt us and spitefully use and abuse us. It’s like we can comfortably say, loving is not what we do when it’s comfortable and acceptable; it’s most powerful when we love those who do not deserve it.
Christ was careful to answer the question of which was the the most important commandment. He said ,”love the Lord the God and the second is like it, love your neighbour as I have loved you. On this two all the other commandments stand”.
Apostle Paul, in his First epistle to the corinthians defines love with this simple everyday words: “love is kind…it is not self seeking, it keeps no record of wrong. (13:4,5; NIV). He further explains the characteristics of love in this verse, “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (7; KJV).
In the reality of it, it is almost impossible to love. Even when you are able to transcend your self, and become effacing, putting the other first (Phil 2:3-4), people will still doubt you, and “perceive” that you as having an ulterior motive
Take this personal situation for instance.
I called a friend and after quick pleasantries, said she was in the middle of something and would call me back in ten -twenty minutes. She called back 10-15 hours later apologising. My, “it’s not a big deal” feed back got her vexed. She was expecting that I’d be crossed at her. Any right thinking person, would have thought, she got so busy and forgot. She thought I took offence and was not happy that I was not saying my mind.
The cruelty that lurks the reality of our daily existence makes it seem so unnatural to be kind. Kindness is rare. Its almost like contrarieties; Human being and kindness. But we cannot allow society define us. Our relationship with God should define how we relate with others, not the other way round. I know people who are loving, people who would go the whole nine yards when you have only asked for a walk across the lawn and they would do it over and over, even when it is most uncomfortable. Friends should love regardless; brothers should give without expectation because that is the example God set, and Jesus followed suit.
This is the conclusion of the matter, quoting Tim LaHaye, “Love cannot simple wait to give”.