What is Love Part 1

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| MICHAEL ELS

Over the last week, our worlds have been filled with flowers, chocolates and gifts of love. All the stories of love over the last few days have made me ponder a little deeper into the meaning of love.

What is love? This just happens to be one of the most asked questions on Google, just below ‘What is my IP?”. This question is so widely asked, regardless of the worldview which we hold to.

Whilst asking this question to those around me, attempting to find an answer within other worldviews, I found it very hard to pin down a concrete meaning or definition, which makes it hard for us to understand how it is expressed in our daily lives. One of the few things I found challenging in the answers I received was that each person had their own understanding of what love was and this varied substantially. 

Was there no definite meaning to be found or had our society become so bombarded with subjective opinions that these words had lost absolute meaning? One deepfelt problem I had was that love in the eyes of the Nazis did not include loving the Jews and what was love in the eyes of the Jewish leaders that crucified Christ, was not love in the eyes of Jesus' disciples. Our lives are replete with examples that demonstrate this point. In the end, when left open to subjective interpretation, one stands the risk of being left at sea with no raft to cling to and no compass to lead them back to shore. 

I have heard many answers that may have a great deal of good in them but lack the substance that gives it concrete meaning. This is to our detriment as we will be at the merciless hands of a world that has lost all meaning. Ultimately what I fear most is that with the loss of an absolute definition of love, we will be unable to understand what it means to love and so doing, lose the very author and ultimate expression of these words. I fear that the love of Christ will no longer be appealing due to our focus being shifted toward something we are unable to grasp and we will lose the greatest picture of love that the world has ever known.

My goal is not to understand love as some concept or ideal to strive towards, but I desire to see beyond these and gaze upon the very embodiment and foundation of love. To do that, we need to look beyond a feeling and see the person of Christ and what he has done on our behalf.

I believe that only in the cross do we truly catch a glimpse of what it means to love beyond boundaries; where Christ died for all. Including those who despised him and persecuted him, those who nailed him to the cross and pierced his side, those who mocked and ridiculed him. He didn't lay his life down for an ideal, a culture, a people group or nation; instead, we see that it was for all tribes and tongues both the deserved and undeserved. This sacrifice stands in its own category when put against other worldviews and I am yet to hear of an expression of love in any worldview or by any acclaimed deity that would rival or equate to the example that Christ set. 

See next week’s post as we continue to explore this.

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