Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LOVE Is...(What it is-Part 4)

For this installment of Defining some of life’s most important terms, I have simply selected the word LOVE. And, yes, I waited post-valentines day intentionally so both your chocolate “high” and possibly skewed view of love during that time could be over and done with in the month of February.
So, what is love? Cue, the song and image from the Saturday Night Live skit/movie “Night at the Roxbury”...Right? Not so much. Let’s see if the dictionary can get us somewhere.

While usually a source of insightful definitions, Webster’s cheaply defines Love as a noun: (luv) “Deep affection and warm feeling for another”. Hmmm. Still not getting anywhere.

Oddly enough, this post will be dated March 9th, 2011 and on this date and calendar year a religious holiday called “Ash Wednesday” is emphasized.
Ash Wednesday simply put is the 7th Wednesday before Easter and the 1st day of Lent. It is emphasized as a time for a variety of well-intentioned Christian denominations to fast, repent, and live in moderation due to spiritual discipline. For example, no chocolate during lent is a huge “sacrifice” for some participants. I feel your pain. And I completely understand the reasoning behind the emphasis. 2 Corinthians 5:15 admonishes all believers with this truth, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again”. Lent is correct conceptually but is quite often and unfortunately abused practically.

Irish rock band, U2, and their frontman, Bono, once had a press release in a New York City Kmart on Ash Wednesday. When asked if their was any connection to this particular day amidst the flashing blue lights, lead singer Bono slyly replied, “Ash Wednesday and Kmart—that about wraps us up.”
Hmmm. Thanks Bono for the amusement. Still not completely where we need to be on this definition of love.

So, if love is more than a noun or a holiday for giving cheap gifts (and expressing cheap sentiment not consistent with behavior the other days of the year), nor a religious emphasis time to “sacrifice” from your lifestyle something temporarily to show at best a seasonal devotion, what exactly and where exactly can we find the truest definition of Love?

Love for Christians is defined in a variety of ways. However, the Apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, understood firsthand what Love was all about as he was graced with spending time with the only full embodiment of Love that has ever lived on planet earth.
1 John 4:7-21 provides us with one of the most amazing definitions of what authentic and consistent Love actually is. So here goes:

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
 We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

Love and Ash Wednesday--that about wraps this up!

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