Summary: Love is primarily an action not a feeling
A man looked up from his hospital bed and said to his wife: "You’ve always been with me when I have had trouble. When I lost my shirt in a poor investment you were there. When I had the car accident you were with me. I got fired and you were there. I’ve come to the conclusion, that you’re bad luck."
Tina Turner in her hit song, “What’s love got to do with it” says all that love is nothing more than a second hand emotion. Is love primarily a feeling? Most people talk about love as if it were a feeling. A young man had been dating an attractive young woman, but it seems the relationship was on the verge of ending and after a particular long evening together he turns to her and says, Mary I don’t believe you love me anymore, to which she responds, George, where did you get the anymore.
Jesus on the evening before his arrest shared with his disciples the eleventh commandment, when he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another.” Now those words seem strange to us, for you cannot command someone to feel a certain way. I remember in college we had a guy in the dorm that was always creating trouble. He had a short temper, totally selfish and used language that would embarrass a sailor. One night we met in a Bible study and his name came up and someone suggested the Bible taught we should love him. Our first reaction, this young man was totally unlovable. When Jesus commands the disciples to love one another is he asking the impossible.
What we came to realize in that Bible study that Jesus was not commanding us to have good feelings to Sam nor even to like him, but rather Jesus was calling us to action not feelings. The greek word Jesus uses for love is agapao, it means to seek the best for another with no thought of what you might receive in return.
The love Jesus speaks about is seeking the best for another even when we don’t want to, even when they don’t deserve and yes even when they might not appreciate it. Probably that kind of love is best modeled in a parents love for a child.
Now I want to have a word with our young people today. I know you think that your parents stay awake at night having wonderful feelings about how wonderful you are, they count their blessing to think what a privlige it is to have given birth to such a loveable human being.
Now, this may come as a shock to you, but there have been times when their feelings about you were anything about loving. Those times when you stayed out late without permission, When you talked back for umteenth time during a day, When they caught you in a lie. During those times your parents not only didn’t have feelings of love, they actually didn’t like you very much.
One teenager decorated his truck with an editorialized version of the parentally oriented bumper sticker, "Have you hugged your child today?" His decal asked, "Have you bugged your parents today?"
But does that mean your parents stopped loving you. Their love for you is not based on how they feel about you at any particular moment, but upon a commitment they made when you were born and not all, but most parents have spent their lives seeking their children’s good even during those times when they might not have felt like it, even during those times when their children might not deserve or appreciate that love.
When the apostle describes love in the love chapter in I Corinthians 13, he doesn’t talk about feelings, but rather actions of patience, kindness, trust, perserverance and control of temper. The essence of love is not what we feel but what we do.
Jesus goes on to give a further description of love when he says, As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The preposition as here does not mean “as well” In other words Jesus is not saying I love you, so you should love each other. But the word as here carries with it the meaning “in like manner”. He is telling his disciples to love each other in the same manner in which he loved them.
Jesus love for his disciples was a sacrificial love. This kind of love is measured by what it cost us rather than what we receive. Like most men of his generation, my dad was not the kind of person who told me he loved me very much, but I remember when I was in 8th grade,I became totally convinced he loved me. I was making the right turn at an intersection on my bicycle when I was hit head on by a car on the wrong side of the street. I was thrown head first into the windshied of the car and then rolled to the side of the street. I lay in the hospital for 48 hours with the doctors and my parents not knowing whether I would live or die. I don’t remember much about those two days, but I do remember one thing, my father never left that hospital room. Now my dad was not a perfect father, I shared with you before, he was an alcoholic who did some wrong things in his life, but from that point on, I never questioned his love for me.