Love. It’s a word that is misused, misunderstood, and mistaken for all the wrong things.
“I love that song!” – misused (Love can’t be reduced to a pop culture fad.)
“He just loves me because I’m pretty.”– misunderstood (Love isn’t conditional.)
“I only did it because I loved her.” – mistaken (Love never exploits or abuses.)
How would you define love? For me, there is only ONE definition:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16
True love requires sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect example. He gave His life for all humanity because He loves us so much. Nothing we can do could even come close to that kind of love. We as humans aren’t even capable of fully understanding it.
But sacrificial love also shows up in other ways (because how many of us are really going to die on behalf of someone else?) It shows up in my willingness to give up a bad habit because my friend, spouse, or child asked me to stop. It shows up when I lay down my need to be right in order to save a relationship from dying. It shows up when I choose to give my husband the last k-cup of coffee instead of hide it for myself (I’m still working on this one!)
Because that’s what love does. It’s not even dependent upon if you like the person. Love crosses over whatever barrier is in it’s path to be, to do, to give, to serve, to show up, just to lay it all down, for the sake of one person.
Sound difficult? Well, it’s really a lot harder than it sounds. Especially when we trivialize it to being sentimental mush with no depth. Love is deep. It’s definitely not limited to a shallow feeling. No sentimentality or emotionalism can replace the bloody truth of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. It was messy. It was controversial. The Cross set the highest standard for pure love.
And our lives are meant to be a representation of that love: sacrificial, messy, controversial. The crazy thing is, when we live our lives this way, choosing to love despite how we feel, we inevitably provoke a reaction. LOVE doesn’t just sit still. When it’s shown in it’s truest form, love beckons a response. And yes, it may be smiles and laughter. But it also may be tears and yells. Because love doesn’t ask your permission. And that may be hard for some people to take.
So, in the name of Love, let’s actually live our lives in a way that causes others to look at us in wonder. Because no matter how vulgar and offensive the Cross was, no one can deny it’s incomparable beauty.