The following is written by Lynell M. Caudillo of Calvary Presbyterian:
How would you feel if you were in this situation?
Suppose you are in a serious dating relationship. So serious the two of you are talking about getting married. You tell your beloved that when you marry, you will come into some significant money, a trust fund. Your sweetheart replies: “Really? No matter, because I love you for who you are, not for what you have or may have.”
Down the road, or “down the aisle,” you discover the trust fund is insolvent – you will not get a penny! When you share this news with your intended, he or she calls off the wedding!
How would you feel? What would you say? What does this tell you about this person’s love for you? It would certainly call into question many of the things you believed: did she/he really love you at all? Was she/he simply using me in order to get her/his hands on the trust funds?
This and many other possible scenarios can call into question the meaning of “love.” As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, the primary focus is on romantic love. Is love based on what we give to a relationship, what we receive from a relationship or both? How do we define love anyway?
The English language has only one word for love and we use it to describe our favorite food (as in “I love pizza”) to our feeling about the home team (“I love the Seahawks!”) to the depth of affection and commitment we make when we say our wedding vows (“I will love and cherish you from this day forward”).
There are three primary words for love that are used in the New Testament.
One describes erotic love, the second describes familial love or affection and the third one describes God’s unconditional love for us all. This is the love that the Apostle Paul describes in the so called “Love Chapter” of I Corinthians 13, verses 4-7: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
To truly love one another in this self-sacrificial manner does not come naturally to us because we are self-centered, sinful individuals. It is only with the God’s help through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can even begin to approximate this kind of love in our human relationships. It was best modeled for us in Jesus Christ who died and rose again for us.
Why? All because God loves us. No one will ever love you or me like that, but God in Christ Jesus. This love does not depend on our goodness or deserving, but on God’s amazing grace. And as if this is not great in itself, there is even more good news: there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, or to make God love you less. God simply loves us because it is God’s nature to do so.