God is Love
By Rev. Robert Jungť
We talk about love. We say that we love this person or that thing. Yet love is very hard to define. Try to imagine what it would be like if you had no loves whatever. No drive. No purpose. No desires. The fact is that love is the very heart of human life. Because we are free we can choose to love what is good or evil. Evil loves are divisive. People who only love themselves come together only so long as it benefits them. But genuine love holds marriages and families together. Genuine loves held in common draw societies, countries and churches together. Most of the religions of the world make love of the neighbor a fundamental principle of life.
If we canít smell it, taste it, see it, hear it or touch it, we tend to say it isnít real. Yet when from love a man stands up for his wife or children, what could be more real? Those who love their country will die for the sake of that love. Thatís pretty real.
Love is not limited by space. A man in Afghanistan can love his wife and family back home. We can and do still love those who have died and whose natural bodies we canít sense at all. Couples happily celebrating their golden anniversaries feel as if they have always been in love. Genuine love is timeless.
The Source of love therefore must be beyond the limitations of space and time. The Source of love is infinite and eternal. The Source of love is God.
Love is reciprocal. When we love we want to be loved in return. When her husband comes home from work, a loving wife wants some response. Because our Creator loves us, He wants us to love Him in return because He knows that is the only way we will be truly happy. Potentially we have a supremely Human relationship to God. We can receive His love, and we can love Him.
When we love someone, we will do all that we can to make them happy. Since God loves us, He wants to make us eternally happy. How can He do that? By providing a heaven where all who go there love Him and each other. Heaven is even more real than this world, because everything in heaven is governed by and determined by love. That love is expressed and it is reciprocated. Those in heaven are real, human and loving individuals. And they are deeply happy serving and helping each other.
But love cannot be forced or compelled. It is freely given or it is not genuine. We can suppose that an all-powerful God could make us love Him and each other. But that wouldnít be love. To force man to love Him would be contrary to His loving nature, - contrary to Whom and What He really is.
When we believe that God is love, the consequences become awesome. We have a responsibility to open our hearts to receive His love. We have daily choices to make. Those choices have eternal consequences. We can choose if we are going to be there for our children and show them the love that will make them truly happy. We can choose if we will let our thoughts and actions wander to others, or whether we will work hard to be faithful to the love we promised our partners on our wedding day. We can choose to do our work sincerely, justly and faithfully, or not. God will show us the way. Like a Heavenly Father He will point us in the right direction. But what we choose to make of our lives, what we choose to love will be our decision. Itís the only way we will feel our love, indeed our life as if it were our own.
If we choose to love only ourselves, that choice will have eternal consequences, and we will find ourselves in hell where everyone is trying to get their own way. The love of self alone burns and strives for dominion, but knows eternal frustration because it is never satisfied. It always wants more. There are places in this life, which seem to be pretty good examples of the unhappiness which comes from such burning desires.
But if we choose to love God, His love will fill our hearts with love both for Him and for others. Our love will go out to them, and they will respond and return that love. Nothing will stand in the way of our freely expressing what we feel in our hearts. How many times have we felt tied in knots and unable to express what we really mean? What joy to be able to really express, really show our deepest affection for those we love. If day by day we choose to open the way for love to come into our lives, we will have found the key to eternal happiness and contentment.