LOVE - what a loaded word!
A maze of contradictions...
The Bible says God loved the world so much he put his Son through a horrible death so that we could live. Really? Is that love? How can a loving God kill his own son? How can violence ever show love?
Then there is the subject of Hell. How can a loving God create such a horrible place? How can a loving nature condone suffering?
If the love of God is filled with such violence, horror and contradiction, then what does God mean when he tells us to love our neighbour?
What does God mean by 'love'?
Preachers tell us love is about marriage, sex, family and gaining a good reputation in society. But is that true? Jesus didn't sleep around, marry, have a family or spend his time building a good reputation, so, that can't be the right definition of love.
The world tells us killing and causing harm is not regarded as loving. And everyone who ever lived agrees that sounds right, but God says he sent his beloved Son to his death to show his love for us, so, that can't be the right definition of love, either!
The Bible tells us that God's love 'covers a multitude of sins'. But if that's true, why does God punish us for our sins? How can God's love 'cover us' and punish us at the same time?
It's all so confusing!
So what is love? Is love about smiling sweetly and getting along with people? It is about not ‘rocking the boat’, or not being ‘judgmental’ when bad things happen. Is it about tolerance and self control?
This is what the church teaches, and what the world expects from Christians, yet is this the love Christians are supposed to show to the world? It can’t be, for God’s own Son didn’t do any of those things.
Jesus didn’t ‘play nice’ so people would like him. He didn’t avoid ‘rocking the boat’, or making judgments. He had no tolerance for hypocrisy, and his love for his Father, shown through his rage in the temple, made him look like he had no self control. Yet he was perfect in love!
Everything Christ did showed God's love to the world, and he told us he expected us to follow his lead and love others the way God expects us to love.
God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like him. (1Jn.4:16-17)
If Christians are supposed to follow Christ and love the way he loved, what does that mean? How did the life of Christ reveal the love of God to the world? What does it mean to love the way Christ loved the world - with God’s love?
What Scripture reveals might surprise you!
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