We throw words around so carelessly in the United States. It seems every generation accumulates more slang. (Sometimes I feel like a need a dictionary of slang just to understand what is being written on social media). One word that we love to throw around is the word “love,” pun intended. We love our friends and family, our pets, the deer that run through our back yard. We “love” sunsets, beaches, libraries, and the color green. We “fall in love,” “fall out of love,” and for some “love” is a word they use to get something they want, with no regard for the other person. We even “love” hotdogs, the Packers, that cute new purse, our dog, actors, famous people, our boat, and our home.
So, what do we really mean when we use that word?
I know that there are different types of love. The Bible clearly talks about them. I guarantee you; none of them include love for inanimate objects, food, or clothing. The Bible also tells us that God is love. I think it would be smart to look at Him to see what love really is. What does God love?
Well, He loves people. Good people and bad people. His love isn’t the sappy, fake, shallow love of this world. He loves in a way that has nothing in it for Him. No strings attached. It doesn’t depend on anything, period. Nothing or nobody can change that fact. We can’t even stop it or change it. There are millions of people who don’t love Him, some who haven’t so much as heard of Him, and others have believed the lies told about Him, but He still loves them. Talk about a one-sided love affair. In fact God loved us all so much, when we didn’t love Him, that He sent His Son to die for us.
John 3:16 (NET Bible), “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The Bible goes on to show us more about this kind of love:
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NIV)
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV), “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 15:13 (NIV), “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
I John 3:16 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), “By this we know his love toward us, for he gave his Life in our place, and it is right for us that we would give our lives for the sake of our brothers.”
That simplifies the question of what love really is, doesn’t it?
What do you really love?
What would you give your life up for?
Would you die for a hotdog?