Summary: We must love as Christ loves us.
Time and time again we hear about people “falling out of love” and deciding that their relationship just isn’t worth keeping. They decide to go and file for a divorce because the luster that was there just doesn’t exist any more. Teenagers act much the same way having a different boyfriend or girlfriend every few weeks or every couple of months. They say they love the other person in the relationship but in all honesty they haven’t even begun to understand what love is in the first place. Fickle and fad-like affection has been running rampant for the last three decades and shows no signs of stopping in the near future. It has become a now common statistic that the rate of divorce in the church now exceeds the rate of divorce in the world. (51% found in the church and 50% found in the world). Why is this? Has the church done something wrong or have we lost the biblical meaning of the idea of love?
History has many precedents that apply to this idea of the need for human relationships. One scholar tells a gruesome story about what happens when babies do not get tender and loving care. “We can live only in relationships. We need each other. A rather crude and cruel experiment was carried out by Emperor Frederick, who ruled the (Holy) Roman Empire in the thirteenth century. He wanted to know what man’s original language was: Hebrew, Greek, or Latin? He decided to isolate a few infants from the sound of the human voice. He reasoned that they would eventually speak the natural tongue of man. Wet nurses who were sworn to absolute silence were obtained, and though it was difficult for them, they abided by the rule. The infants never heard a word—not a sound from a human voice. Within several months they were all dead.”
Loving relationships hold an extremely important part of our development not only as persons but as Christians as well. Just as a child needs a loving and nurturing environment to grow up emotionally healthy and stable, so does the Christian need the love of God and of fellow Christians to grow stronger spiritually. Both will live and act just like those who modeled it for them. If children grow up with bickering and abusive parents, they too will someday grow to be the same. Christians tend to have the same habit. If they are raised in a hypocritical environment, then their tendency will be to become exactly like those they lived with. John 13:34 says “"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."” Jesus spent his entire ministry explaining what God meant by all the laws he had given in the Old Testament such as do not murder. Jesus explained that hating a brother was the same as murdering them but here Jesus gives a new command. We must love just like Christ loves us. However society has skewed the meaning of the word love and examples are sometimes few and far between. We will look at the definition and several examples of love. Lastly we will look at the “so what” of the command from Christ.