A short handbook on love

In the English language we face a problem with the word love.

Regardless of economics, race or status, people value love and recognize love shapes what is good and true. However, in the English language we face a problem. We use love so broadly it looses clarity. I love ice cream. I love my dog. I love my spouse. I love my friends. Continue reading “A short handbook on love”

Love at the peak

Let’s put 1 Corinthians 13 at the center of the discussion.

Some have considered the chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13 as a parenthesis in the discussion about the use of gifts, in chapters 12-14. In truth, it is the center and peak of the whole discussion. It all comes down to this. Or rather, it is up to love at the peak where we must climb. Continue reading “Love at the peak”

Love or hate?

When we are doing the best we can for others, we are seen to be like our Teacher.

“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:11-15 NIV)

I think most Christians realise that love is to characterise our lives as followers of Jesus. Because we don’t often see love exhibited around us, we sometimes forget what love really is. How many times have you had someone say that they loved you and yet did all sorts of bad things to you? Continue reading “Love or hate?”

Love and boundaries

We provide some freedom but clear boundaries and constraints. We do not do this to exercise control but because we are protecting them.

“My daughter spent $8,000 on that dog. We loved her.” Those were words I heard regarding a stray animal that recently came into my possession. A person claiming to be the former owner saw the ad I had posted, and wanted a “second chance” after she had given or sold the untrained pet. While I couldn’t afford to buy sushi for myself very often, it was impressive that they used to feed it to Chloe. 

When Chloe was found, her ribs were showing from severe malnutrition, and she had parasites and exhaustion. The vet we took her to inform us that she was not spayed; in fact, she was in her fertile cycle. The former owners clearly had neglected her.  Continue reading “Love and boundaries”

Are we like Jesus?

I can almost hear Christians saying about what Paul wrote, “Do I have to?”

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal; be ardent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; pursue hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:9-13 NRSVUE)

The fruit that we are to produce in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23) is based on love. Love is something that people can easily say they have but for the follower of Jesus it must be more. It must be genuine. It means really caring for each other – and that love is reciprocated because we are all part of the body of Jesus and we are serving him. It means we take care of each other with helping in any way they need. It means our primary concern can’t be ourselves but we outdo each other in doing things for each other. Continue reading “Are we like Jesus?”

To be like God, love

Love should naturally grow out of a proper relationship with God.

Characteristics in an individual may be so strong that they instantly come to mind when the individual’s name comes up. Mention one man and “egotistical” comes to mind. Mention another and we may think “stern.” Still another name may cause us to think “cold.”

God’s dominant characteristic is love: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). It was God’s love which opened the door to our salvation (John 3:16). Continue reading “To be like God, love”