Tina Turner famously asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” The answer is: everything.
Love, along with faith and hope, is essential for a society to function properly because love governs the interactions that people have with one another. And that’s by design. The Bible says that God created us to love him and to love one another. We’ll never experience harmony as a people until we learn to learn to love each other.
This love, however, is not defined by our feelings. Rather, it is a decision of our will. Your experiences prove this point. Think about your closest friend for a moment.
Have there been times when you couldn’t get enough of each other? Times when you shared your deepest concerns in life? Of course, there have. Have there also been times when you just didn’t like your friend very much? Times when they got on your last nerve? Times when they hurt your feelings or broke your confidence? Absolutely. But did you love them more when times were great than when times were hard? Or did you love them less when times were hard? No. Why? Because they are your closest friend and you have decided that you love them regardless of your emotions in any one moment of your friendship.
God’s ideal of love is for us all to have that kind of love for everyone – our friends and our enemies. You may have heard it said that we don’t have to “like” every person, but we’re called to “love” them all. This is because God loves us in this way. His love for us does not come and go; it’s constant. It is not wearied by our sins, our struggles, or our indifference toward him. In fact, it is the opposite in its relentless pursuit of a right relationship with each of us.
Imitating our Creator, then, our love should result in action. Again, this makes sense. If we willfully decide to love other people, then our love for them will show up in the way we treat them. This means at least two things for our daily lives. First, we will be more patient with, and kinder to, everyone since our love for others is not tied to whether we “like” them or not. Second, we will do more good things for other people. Love is like your savings account. The more you do loving things for others, the more the interest on those loving actions compounds giving you a larger capacity to love. And the more your capacity to love grows, the more love you have in your balance to share with other people.
So, you see, that love has everything to do with every aspect of our lives. It defines our relationships with ourselves, our families, our community, and God himself. We can’t function without love. Let’s decide to love and be kind to one another and trust that we, and our world, will be better because of it as we all grow into more loving people.
**This post originally appeared in the Wednesday, December 8 edition of The Chester News and Reporter. I’m thankful that editor Travis Jenkins affords me the opportunity to write openly about the Christian faith.