We throw around that word “love” all the time, but do we even know what it means?
I love my dog. I love pizza. I love shopping. I love reading. I love the band The Classic Crime. I love naps. I love fall.
I love my husband Randy, but it’s not just enough to say that I love him. This kind of love that I have for my husband must be more than a feeling. It has to be love in action. It needs to be love making a choice. I will choose to love my husband, even when I don’t feel like loving him, and I know that he would say the same of me. The love we share is a kind of love that compels us into mutual submission, each surrendering our own lives for that of our spouse.
We hear that phrase a lot, especially within the Church. We hear it particularly regarding groups of people that are different than us. (Of course, very few Christians I know personally will outrightly say that they hate someone else… even if their actions say otherwise.)
But when push comes to shove, I wonder what this kind of “church love” really looks like?
For some “Christians,” it’s easier to “love” an unborn child than the single woman who chose to have an abortion. It’s easier to “love” those of the Muslim faith than it is to actually have a conversation with a devout follower of Islam. It’s easier to “love people” regardless of their race than it is to truly try and understand the daily struggles of those in minority groups. It’s easier to “love” those who are going hungry than it is to share a meal with a homeless man. It’s easier for us to “love” those in the LGBTQ community than it is to actually befriend a gay or lesbian couple and invite them to lunch.
[bctt tweet="Is it easier for the Church to “love” an unborn child than the single woman who chose to have an abortion?" via="no"]
The kind of love that Jesus calls his followers to have must be more than just being nice or showing common courtesy. It has to be more than just a “face saving” statement and cheap talk. It has to be a kind of love that propels us into action. It needs to be a kind of love that leads us to defend the orphans and fight for the widows. It’s the kind of love that drives us to stand up for those who can’t stand on their own and speak for those who don’t have a voice.
We Christians all love to quote “The Greatest Commandments”:
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27)
But do we understand that the parable Jesus told following those commands is that of the Good Samaritan? It’s the story of a man putting his love into action toward someone he considered an enemy. It is the account of someone loving “the other” with his whole heart, soul, strength, and mind. That is the kind of love that Jesus wants from his followers.
We should all love. But what will it mean for us to put that love into action?