Love. Love is so simple it’s scary. So scary, we often run from it rather than towards it. Yet, love is moving ever forward towards the next needing heart. It does not harbor any agenda. It is all-inclusive, and initiates its own commitment independent of our efforts. So why does loving others often feel like such a challenge?
Love is non-exhaustive, without end. Even in its simplest form, it is beyond us. However, I think the complication comes when we attempt to love others by our exhaustive resources. We attempt to base our efforts on knowledge and understanding of another person’s thoughts, lifestyles, and political positions, amongst other temporal factors.
The ideas, perceptions and bits of knowledge we carry will fall away. We cannot depend on these to express love. Love was meant for all, by all, through an eternal lens. It was created with an eternal perspective, but we try to express and apply it in temporal elements. We try to do it within our own strength, and on our own terms.
I believe God expects that to an extent. We do what we can, with what we have, and there is grace in that, but the love we carry does not belong to us. We are not the owner or source of that love.
To truly love someone else, I have to step away from myself. Relying on myself, I carry too much judgment that will too often overshadow any effort. I look down on them. I don’t understand them so I turn away from them quickly. My heart is dirty and unloving in so many ways. However, there is another way to do this love thing. There is another factor I often leave out; another contributor to the cause I often forget to tap into.
We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
God perfects love. He created love. He is the true expression of love. God is the source of all love. God defines love in who He is. God is love. It is through the given acts of His spirit, and dependence on Him we can express love appropriately, effectively and intentionally.
So perhaps love could be defined, at least in part, as an unconditional persistence towards the heart of God through expressing patience, kindness, humility, respect, allowance, cheer, and truth. God has lent us His greatest resource, and His greatest characteristic in order to express and show who He is. But we cannot expect to do it appropriately while eliminating Him from our efforts.
At the end of the day, I think there is a common thread of truth in how I express love to others. When I love correctly, don’t give me credit for it. It’s not me. It’s Him within me. When I struggle to love correctly, don’t look at Him. It’s not Him who is failing, but I, who still have much so growing to do.
So when we go to love, let’s take some pressure off of ourselves shall we? We are not going to master loving others on our own, and God never expected us to. In love, as in every part of our existence, if we rely on God to show us direction, example and perfect expression, we can do it successfully. Love is for all, by all; we’re in this learning curve together with God at the head of the line. We love because He first loved us, and we continue to love by depending on Him to lead us through.