“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” -1 John 3: 16-18
“I love shoes”, “I love tacos”, “I love the Vikings”, “I love you”, “I love my daughter/son”, I love my girlfriend/boyfriend”, “Love is greater than hate”. Wow, all of these statements are all focused around one single word, yet they mean very different things. These phrases above are all statements that we could hear in one single day.
So, what is love? Why do we spend so much time talking about it? Is love really just a word that we use when making claims? The hope is that love does not become a cool buzzword, but I think we allow it to at times. It is no secret that we are currently living in time of extreme division. I often hear that well-meaning phrases “we just need to love more”, “love is greater than hate”. I do not disagree with these statements in anyway. Where I think we can offer disservice to our call to love our neighbor is when we allow these phrases to just float through the wind as a good statement.
When we claim that we should love more and love is greater than hate, we are calling ourselves and our neighbors to action. The author of 1 John does not hold back when describing how one should love their neighbor. If we are seeing someone in need, (financial, spiritual, emotional, and more), we are called to offer what we can to our neighbor.
This brings us into action, love is not just a cute or pretty word, love cause us to roll up our sleeves and work actively against hate, oppression and more. But, there is really good news, we do not do this alone, this work is not intended to be done alone. We have the gift of community and one another to do this work of love.
How are you going to love today?
Tomorrow: Showing Love to Yourself