Love is an overused four-letter word! When people use the word, ‘love’ today I have trouble trying to discern whether they really mean ‘love’ or they are just talking about their ‘likes’ and ‘preferences.’ This is not helpful when it comes to trying to understand the depths of God’s love for us. Here there is no doubt in my mind as to what is meant by the use of eth word, ‘love.’ However, peoples’ understanding of God’s love will be affected by their own understanding and use of the word ‘love.’

It is possible that God just becomes another one of the ‘likes’ of their lives if that is the understanding of love that they use. This does terrible injustice to God and His commitment to us. God does not just ‘like’ us> He is so committed in love to us that he sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross so that we are able to receive and live in the fullness of His love for us once again. Jesus did not die on a cross because He liked us! He died on the cross out of love for us! The difference can be measured in the enormity of the gift of salvation that is a result of God’s love for us.

People today face enormous challenges in their lives and not the least of these has to do with understanding the nature of God’s love for us. I think that it is time for us to be a little more careful in the way that we talk about love. Too many relationships that begin with the so-called ‘eternal or undying love’ between two people end up in separation or divorce! It is quite possible that it never was love to begin with but merely an infatuation or something like it. Love, at its core and basis has commitment as a constitutive element. Without commitment to work through difficulties love is not love. It is merely an acceptable arrangement for the time being until something better comes up! This sort of understanding is as far from the meaning of God’s love for us as the east is from the west!

What do I mean when I say that I love someone or something? How do I understand God’s love for me? What level of commitment do I associate with the use of the word ‘love,’ particularly when I use it in relation to my relationships with people?

Jesus, you so loved us that you were willing to die for us on the cross. Teach me the true nature of love and how to love the people in my life. Help me to imitate the love that you have shown that you have for me.