I was driving downtown recently and as I was turning a corner, I quickly glimpsed the words “GIVE LOVE” painted over the door of a restaurant. Those words have stayed with me. As I’ve pondered them, it is a simple, clear, but compelling statement. To “give love” is the simplest act one can do for another person, yet, it is also the most meaningful gift we can ever give to anyone.
Love is the most powerful force in the world. It was an act of love on God’s part that healed mankind and began the process of transformation throughout the earth. But that love was given at a cost. To give love to someone else often times requires sacrifice or selflessness on the part of the giver.
In today’s world, love has been reduced down to only one of its many forms. It is most often portrayed as the warm and tender, feel-good or romantic form of love. But love takes on many varied forms depending on each unique circumstance.
One single form of love cannot adequately cover the many complex facets of human nature. God’s love for us is always constant. Yet, at the same time, His expression of love towards us changes in each situation. His response is tailored to meet our specific need in that instance.
We, also, must “give love” in the same manner. Sometimes tough love is needed, such as having to tell someone a hard truth they don’t want to admit but need to hear. Other times, love is walking along side another person who is going through a painful season in life, understanding their pain, and helping them continue their journey. Love can also be having a kind word for someone who desperately needs it. Or, it can be showing kindness and compassion to someone who has hurt you. And in the best of times, love is that gooey, warm feeling of getting to pour out over someone’s life with sheer joy.
Jesus gave a new commandment to mankind near the end of his life. It was:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
We are to love our fellow man by following the example He set during His life. Jesus overturned tables and called the money changers in the temple “a brood of vipers.” Jesus told Peter he was the “rock” He would build His church upon and then, shortly after, Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Yet, in other instances, Jesus showed compassion to known sinners like the woman caught in adultery and the tax collector Zacchaeus.
Jesus showed love in many forms throughout His life. And His love towards man was not in vain. His love set us free and transformed our lives forever. We need to love as Jesus loved.