What is love?
Such a question has absorbed, bamboozled, and even frenzied people. It is a loaded question, of course. Entire libraries could be filled with relevant and incisive answers to such enquiries of curiosity, without fully explaining it.
But love is the hub of life, for God is love (1 John 4:16). As all things revolve around God, all things have their meaning in love. Even evil exists because of love—in such a case, evil is reviled by love and has vowed to fight against it to destroy it. But love can never be destroyed. The fight of evil versus good is because of love—the very presence of God that infuriates evil. The fight of good versus evil, similarly, is because of love. Love compels action because of justice, righteousness and fairness (see early Proverbs [1:3; 2:9]).
Love is behind creation; the Creative act. God ‘created’ because of love...
But this conversation is perhaps already too esoteric. Already we have travelled into the theological nebulae. This cannot be the intention: to annoy the reader.
Love is broader than romance; than being nice to one another; than meaning well. Love is a very practical thing based on truth:
“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.”
—1 John 3:18 (Msg)
Practicing real love is about relating with people, and our world, in truth.
When we love in real ways, by practicing truth, we love as God loves, and we exemplify the Spirit who lives within us. To practice real love is to aspire, every breathing moment, to live for truth.
Real Love Merges with Truth
If love is the hub of life, and that is our premise, it exists eternally by prevailing against any challenge to it. Such a thing can only occur if it is identified in truth.
God is innately relational and the Lord of Truth—God is truth. Love is formed in a complex mix within, and superintending over, these concepts—love subsists by truth, relationally. It is difficult to talk in these matters because they are impossible to pin down in concrete ways.
All we can do, if we wish to keep it simple, is note that love is relational and it is identified by truth. Love is not a lie. Love has no falsity about it. Love cannot be ‘lovely’ if it cannot be tough as well. Love must encompass all that is truth.
These are challenging ideas.
But if we organise love into the realm of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we understand it as a concept that holds up under any enormity of pressure. If we organise love as a thing to be relied upon, we understand it well. If we organise love as that which is holy, righteous, just, and fair, we see it spread its empowering wings. We note the width and breadth of its wingspan. We can admire the wonder of it.
Love is a much broader concept than any of us can fully understand. But as we attempt to understand it our worldview expands and our understanding blossoms.
Love’s core is truth. Love is not a lie. Love has no falsity about it. Love cannot be ‘lovely’ if it cannot be tough as well. Love must encompass all that is truth if it is to be real. And there is nothing more real than love, for God is love.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.