With Valentine’s Day right around the corner everyone is thinking about love. But what is love really? 1 Corinthians gives us a great definition of love in chapter 13.
People automatically think of this verse pertaining to couples. It is used in wedding ceremonies and I have even used it a time or two. Why not? It is a beautiful definition. It teaches us that as a couple we should always want the best for our spouse. We should never delight in their misfortune. It teaches us that “arguments” should never be in anger but in love. And once it’s done it is done. Never to be brought up again. My wife and I joke that “I will always love you. I may not always like you but I WILL always love you!” And that’s ok. Love doesn’t diminish because you are mad at someone. If it does that isn’t love.
Our children also need to understand this about love. Just because a child may do wrong or even disappoint us it doesn’t mean we stop loving them or even love them any less. Even if I found out one of my children, or step-children, was a serial killer I would still love them. I would hate what they did and my heart would break for the victims but I would not love my child any less. True love should be unconditional and when it comes to family it is or at least should be. But what about other than family? To answer this question we have to first look to see what bible teaches us.
Wait! What? What heretic said this? Oh wait that’s right. Jesus said that. Hmmmm then it is my guess that maybe we should listen. But surely there must have been some hidden meaning in that. There was. Ready for it? Love everyone! Unconditionally!
I know that is actually a hard concept for many people to comprehend and unfortunately many Christians battle with it too. Despite what you or many people think, it is actually possible to hate what someone does or stands for but still love the person. I know many of you have heard the saying “Love the sinner. Hate the sin”. Now while that phrase is not actually in the Bible it is based on biblical principal and teaching. Jesus tells us that unconditional love for everyone is not only possible…it is commanded.
How easy we forget the commandment that says “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It doesn’t say “love your family” or “love those who love you back”. The word neighbor doesn’t mean just the person next to you. It means all those around you.
In today’s “Me! Me! Me!” generation where it is all about “my feelings” and “my truth” people have forgotten how to love one another. If you disagree with someone or believe something differently you are automatically hated. Today’s generation has a problem loving even friends and family unconditionally. Forget about strangers or “enemies”.
All people, including Christians, need to learn how to be able to disagree with someone and still love the person. How to believe differently than someone and still love the person. If someone does you wrong, pray for them and forgive them, but still love them. Love those who speak bad about you and never respond to hate with hate. We must learn to “love our neighbor”, “love our enemy”, and most importantly we must learn to always “live a life of love”.