Whenever I hear “Love is free”, I find that it sounds so right but, yet, there is a lingering thought that it is at best a half-truth. It is very much like the half-truth that “money is the root of all evil” when, truth be told, it’s the “love of money” which is the root of all evil. Finally, I have a revelation last week to resolve the notion that love is free, but not entirely so.
Love is not free because the person who gives it has to pay a price or make a sacrifice. Think, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …”. Yes, while it is a free gift to the recipients, Jesus Christ had to give up His life as a ransom for many. Paid for by Jesus, God’s love for us is free. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8; NKJV)
Having said that, love is free as the giver chooses to give it freely to his or her beneficiaries. True love, I am persuaded, must essentially be given freely. Any thing less than love-without-strings-attached would be suspect. True love is not given to us according to our merits, but simply out of the good nature of the benefactor.
As we are indebted to Christ Jesus for His love towards us, it is up to us to love others in return, not out of a sense of obligation but as an expression of our love for our Lord and Savior. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19; NKJV)
With these insights, we can better appreciate some other axioms such as “The best things in life are free” and “Love is not love till you give it away”. No one can force us to give or hold back love, but ourselves.
God is love. He is the source of love and “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5b; NKJV) We have got love, but it is verily up to us to love others freely. Animal lovers would cry, “Free Willy.” God lovers could well champion, “Free Love”.