Sunday, March 1, 2009

True Love

What do you think when you hear the term, “true love”? The term’s likely to intuit several different reactions, from keen interest to throwing up, because we assume it’s about romantic love. But that’s only one form of true love. There is another form of true love which is so much more profound and meaningful.

I came across the following two quotes which go some way toward describing this other form of true love:

“I see their souls, and I hold them in my hands, and because I love them they weigh nothing.”
–Pearl Bailey.

“Love means loving the unlovable--or it is no virtue at all.”
–G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905.

Rationalising meaning from these is not easy.

This love requires effort.

It’s not romantic at all.

Jesus, too, flipped love on its head.

He prefaced true love as a condition of salvation. He said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:44-45 (TNIV). How hard is this form of love? Does it ever get easier?

I think the answer to the above question, ‘Does it ever get easier?’ is both “yes” and “no.” With practice we do find it easier to empathise and show compassion generally; but, we will always struggle to some extent without the fervent will of God pushing us on. His will needs to match ours--that’s never going to be a natural thing.

Nothing epitomises true love better than God’s love for his people and his overall creation. Speaking to Israel, the LORD said,

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.”
–Isaiah 43:4 (NIV).

A New Testament meaning… Jesus, in fact; his life exchanged for ours.
To me, that’s true love.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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