What is love?

What is love? “All you need is love…” “'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” It’s arguably the principal theme of songs, drama and poetry and right now, all over the opening aisles of supermarkets in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day tends to focus on love as a physical attraction, an infatuation, a desire. It’s something we simply feel – or don’t! – towards someone else. The emphasis put on it by the world fools many into thinking that this is the ultimate kind of love to aspire to; the stuff that makes marriages work. The Bible presents a different view. It has a far richer lexicon than English for the different types of love we may experience. It speaks openly and encouragingly of the physical love to be enjoyed between husband and wife. It also emphasises the importance of love as affection and friendship. But it speaks most eloquently of the love of God Himself. “God is love”, we are told in 1 John 4:16, which goes on to encourage us to show God’s love to one another. This kind of love is not a feeling; it does not peter out over time as the sensation diminishes. It is not dependent on the likeability of its object or on the reciprocation of its actions. The greatest, deepest kind of love is in fact a choice, an action, a verb. It means putting the wishes of other people above your own... it means trying to love those whom we might otherwise dislike. As Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you." (Luke 6v27). It is perhaps best defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” It is the kind of love that has and will change the world. pershore.bible Pershore-christadelphians.org

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