Love is messy. In every relationship, some form of love is present. What? You wouldn’t say you love your coworkers? God’s love is all-encompassing and liberating.
Today, we can casually say we love everything from our romantic partners to pizza. Should we qualify and categorize love depending on what we are talking about?
For example, genuine love is not qualified by our feelings but by our decisions. God defines love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Here is The Message version: “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have, it doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
If these instructions seem complicated, martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer adds some clarity: “I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love.” Saint Luke sums it up in chapter 6, verse 31, “Treat others as you want them to treat you.”
Above all, imagine how liberating this kind of love is. What if everyone operated on these instructions? Our love-example can begin within ourselves. Think glitter. If one person uses it, it’s on everyone!