What it means to love

It’s hard to define love.

Sometimes we use it to describe how much we like something—I love ice cream—but that’s inadequate.

And then sometimes we use it to describe a feeling—I love my wife because of how she makes me feel—but again that’s too shallow.

What about this?

Love is when we act in someone’s best interest even when it’s difficult for us, or maybe even painful.

We see that idea in these verses:

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son . . .” (John 3:16).

It wasn’t a strong like that led Jesus to the cross, and it certainly didn’t make him feel good.

He did it because we needed it.

He did it because he loved us.

That’s what we should think about when we read verses like this one: “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).

Paul’s writing to Christians, and he’s just encouraged us to forgive and be patient with one another. He’s told us to be kind and compassionate and longsuffering.

But how? What’s the key?

Because of feelings?

Here’s an important point: God never asks us to do something because of how it makes us feel.

We treat people right because we choose to love them.

You’ll deal with someone today who won’t deserve your kindness or forgiveness. It might be your neighbor or coworker, or even your kid or your spouse.

It might be someone at church.

But if I understand the biblical idea of love right, God wants you to love that person today.

And love doesn’t even think about what people deserve.

It’s what we do because of what he did.

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