Follow the Way of Love
What is Love? It has been described as the most powerful action in the Universe, an energy, a drive, a state of being and the Universe’s Creative Force.
John the Disciple said ‘God is Love, and whoever lives in love lives in God,’and Tina Turner sang, ‘‘What’s Love Got to do with it…it’s just a second hand emotion’.
Whatever we choose to accept as a definition of Love, Jesus claimed that ‘to love God with all your heart, soul and mind…and your neighbour as yourself’ is the most important thing we can do.
Two of the occasions that Jesus offered this commandment came in response to conversations that were being had with him and the religious leaders of the day.
In the first instance a teacher of the law agreed with Jesus and earned himself the response ‘you have spoken well, you are not far from the Kingdom. (Mark12:34)
In the second, the conversant pushed a little harder and asked ‘And who is my neighbour.’ Jesus’ answer was given in telling the story of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10)
In linking these two stories together we are offered a wholistic approach to the concept of what it means to love. It’s one thing to have an accurate answer or right way of thinking about God but that only brings us ‘near’ to the Kingdom of God. But to do something about it, as the Samaritan displayed in his act of kindness and mercy is the real proof of love.
Jesus was saying ‘Love God by doing this…Loving your neighbour!’
The twist in the story is that the one who was doing the loving was in fact considered the enemy, in the culture of the day.
It’s not a big deal to love those we like, who think, act and look like us. These make nice neighbours and loving easy. But to love those who don’t agree with us, upset the status quo and are different make life a challenge, and are easier to avoid. Through our bias and prejudice we make the ‘other’ our enemy.
Maybe in identifying ‘my enemy’ I will have a better chance to understand what it means to actually love, and a greater challenge to put it into practice.
I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘I am my own worst enemy’ and my attitudes are reflected in my actions often justified because I think I’m dealing with an ‘other’ who is making my life hard.
John the apostle continues his challenging discourse in the words, ‘If anyone says, I love God yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother who has seen, cannot love God who he has not seen…’ 1 John 4 v 20.
So I have concluded a few things that I’ll continue to ponder;
I’m fooling myself to say that I love God when I am not being Loving.
When I am loving I am actually emulating God, because God is Love and all loving acts are acts of God.
Love is not an emotion (first or second hand) rather a choice that is demonstrated in emotional responses, and I get to make it.
‘For Love to be real, it must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self’