For Americans, February is the month of love. However, in a culture where love seems so quickly labeled and disposed of, I want to dig through the pile of candied hearts and remember what God intended love to be.
1 John 3:16a(NIV) states, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
If we want to find out what real love is, we need to look at who Christ is and how He loved. We need to not only look at His death, which is overwhelming for anyone to think about, but before that, before even His birth as a man. To begin to understand His love, we need to understand our beginnings, when with mere words, God brought life rushing forth from nothingness. In this time of humanity’s dawn, it was through Jesus that all things were made (John 1:3). Imagine that power, that authority, to send whole galaxies spiraling out of the darkness, to light the cradles of stars in the expanse, to send the waters of the earth rushing forth in their millions of gallons, to rear mountains up from the plains with a crack and roar… to weave together the form of man from particles of dust, and with a breath give life through his nostrils.
Now imagine what it was for him to become a human being. Imagine lying aside the power to shape the universe and then coming screaming into the world in the cold of the night, into the care of two flawed human beings who did not even have the authority to protect their children from the sword of their government. Imagine going from the object of worship, to the object of scorn: the questionably conceived child of a teenager from a region of the world that caused others to wonder, “Can anything good come from there?”(John 1:46a) He would later be called a lunatic, a blasphemer, and even Satan, himself. Eventually, the very people to whom He had been for centuries promised… would turn Him over to the government they hated to be brutally beaten and hung on a tree to die… a significant act, as in Jewish society a man killed this way was “cursed by God” (Deuteronomy 21:23).
And yet, as Jesus hung dying on the cross, carrying the sins of all mankind personally, alienated from God and tortured physically, Luke records Jesus saying in chapter 23, verse 34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Love, then… is more than a feeling of passion. It is treating others better than they deserve. It is acting lovingly, even when it is not felt.