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Saturday, April 23, 2016

What love?

I believe it was Erich Fromm who once said, "Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you." I think that is exactly what God had in mind when he sent his Son to make a way for us to be reconciled with him! He wanted reconciliation with us because he loved us so much it hurt to not have us near to him!  They say being loved by another gives you a measure of strength you don't possess any other way.  Jesus said to his disciples, "So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others." (John 13:34-35 VOICE)  Jesus' love was always "demonstrated" - something he calls for us to do with those he places in our lives, as well.

Don’t owe anyone anything, with the exception of love to one another—that is a debt which never ends—because the person who loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 VOICE)

We are all aware of the concept of actions speaking louder than words. In essence, Jesus was saying to his disciples to allow their actions to "back up" their words. The words are important, but when the actions match the words, there is a connection made which is not easily misunderstood.  Paul emphasizes this truth to the new believers gathering in the church at Rome shortly after Christ's death and they echo to us even today.  We should not "owe" anyone anything, with the exception of love to one another - a "debt" which never ends.  To owe implies we are under an obligation of some form.  He is using an accounting term here, because most understand an "obligation" - something has created a bond between two people and in this case, the bond cannot be broken because the debt is never paid in full!

It is not a "you did this", so I will have "to do that" kind of thing, though.  It is a commitment (debt) which we willingly embrace and don't view as a "you, now me" kind of thing.  I think we see the word debt and think there has to be an "leveling of the score" - but nothing could be further from the truth.  Think about what Jesus did on our behalf - how he showed love for us in all he did, including the cross, his burial, all that persecution, and then his resurrection.  Think about all he continues to do to show his love for us - grace upon grace, even when we don't "deserve" it.  His example tells us all we need to know about love - it isn't an leveling of the score, it is a giving without caring about the score!

To love in this manner is to truly embrace God's love and to begin to live as mirrors of his love.  We cannot "repay" love, but we can act as "agents" of love in all our actions, allowing his love to flow as graciously through us as it has flowed to us through his Son!  Just sayin!