Love is ……?
Many years ago I remember hearing a story about someone claiming that no one had ever told him that they loved him. He was told that someone had told him so just the day before. ‘When ?’ he asked puzzled. ‘When she told you to eat up your cabbage.’
I was reminded of this when a heard a young couple I know talking recently. They were clearing up after a meal when the young man asked his friend ‘Have you have your 5 today?’, referring of course to the modern advice to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. When I told a nutritionist she laughed. ‘That’s a modern love story for you. Caring about your diet!’ that was her definition of love. If you asked someone else, or even dozens of someone elses you would almost certainly get lots of different definitions.
Those of us of a certain age will remember the cartoons of a few years ago ‘Love is a warm puppy etc’ A quick search of the web reveals such definitions as ‘Love is a fallacy’ ‘Love is the devil’ ‘Love is playing hard to get’ and probably thousands more. Or we can go to the bard ‘Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the very edge of doom.’ He is of course referring in this sonnet to human love, but apply those words to what Christ has done for us. Last night at church we looked at !st Corinthians 6. The chapter is concerned with disputes between Christians and towards the end it is concerned with sexual immorality. If your definition of love is concerned only with the physical concentrate on the last verse which comes in the context of Christ’s sacrifice ‘The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.’ (I Cor 6 v 20 ‘The Message’
It won’t be easy, but that is the only true Christian response to the love of Christ.
If you want a real challenge look at another part of this letter – Chapter 13 and try and do what a friend taught me to do some years ago. Read it putting ‘I’in place of ‘love’.
I never give up
I care more for others than for self
I don’t strut, don’t have a swelled head,
Don’t force myself on others
Aren’t always ‘Me first.’
I don’t fly off the handle
Don’t keep score of the sins of others
Don’t revel when others grovel.
I take pleasure in the flowering of truth.
I put up with anything.
I trust God always.
Always look for the best
Never look back
But keep going to the end.
( adapted from ‘The Message’ I Corinthians 13 v 4 ff)
If you are honest you know that there are places where you don’t match up to this perfection. But don’t worry God hasn’t finished with us yet.
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