This is some sort of a continuation for my post “The Overarching Title for this is LOVE“. Some random thoughts and things I learned as the days passed by.
I have always wondered how much love I can give. I wrote on one of my posts that loving, whether it be God or other people, is directly proportional to how we see God’s love for us: 1st John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us”. I know that’s true and all that, but a thought lingered on my mind and it grew bigger than I imagined it would be.
Two attributes of God that has been used and even abused by so many people: God is holy, and God is love. 1st Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy because I am holy” and 1st John 4:8 (coincidentally from the same chapter from the first verse I quoted) says, “…God is love”.
Surprisingly, I did not know what “God is holy” means until it hit me. A state of being “holy” is characterized by being “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness” (according to Merriam-Webster). Someone who, is perfect in goodness, should hate anything that’s bad. Someone who, is perfect in righteousness, hates something unrighteous. Someone who is pure, who is sacred.
So how can a God like him love me? I am a sinner, a blemished little sheep lost on his way enjoying the mud from the ground, lost in definition of what is good and bad, and what is righteous and unrighteous.
And I am flabbergasted that God characterized himself as love.
The bible is a love letter from the Holy God I mentioned above. From the creation, to the fall of man, to the exodus, and everything that Israel experienced. To the birth of a Savior and his death, to the continuous spreading of His word in Acts to the Letters, and all through out Revelation and the second coming, they are all about God’s love for us.
1st Corinthians 13:4-8 defines what Love is.
-Love is patient.
-Love is kind.
-Love does not envy.
-Love does not boast.
-Love is not proud.
-Love is not rude.
-Love is not self-seeking.
-Love is not easily angered.
-Love keeps no record of wrongs.
-Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.
-Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
-Love never fails.
I bolded the parts that struck me and has something in connection with what I’m discussing right now. Since God is love, I guess it’s safe to replace the word “love” with “God”?
Love is not self-seeking: it is selfless. God is not self-seeking: God is selfless. When God loves, he does not love to please himself or to feel good. His love is selfless. He is love himself. And therefore, the sentence “He loves us.” means he gave (or is giving) his self to us.
“Love keeps no record of wrongs” and “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth”. These two seem contradicting each other. Again, let’s replace the word “love” with “God”. God does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. He hates evil. He hates sin. He hates the sins that we do. But because he is love, he keeps no record of wrongs. Because he loves us so much, he does not keep a record of the wrong things that we do. He loves us anyway regardless of that. Regardless of our sin. Again, he is selfless- it pains him to see that we play with sin- but his selflessness, and one of his characteristic, that is love, tells us that he loves us anyway.
I don’t think I was able to define these two characteristics well because I still couldn’t fully grasp what they mean,but why did I mention earlier that this thought has lingered on my mind? “We love because he first loved us”. Yes, the application part. Like I said, I always wondered how much love I am capable of giving. Well, that’s the thing. The love that I can give is based on how much I understand God’s love for me. I thought I am finally able to love, but I guess not. Love is much much bigger than I thought it would be. To love is to be selfless. To love is to keep no record of wrongs. To love is to not delight in evil. Love regardless of who I am and what I will get from it. Love even though people hate you. Love even though people blatantly sin in front of you. Love even though people abuse you.
How is that possible? “We love because he first loved us”. All throughout the bible, the God who is holy, and also love, has been teaching us how to love. We should love not according to how we see love is, or how society or our upbringing tells us how to love. We should love the way God loved us. A selfless love, one that God, with all his holiness and righteousness, did for us: sacrifice himself for people who are sinful and unworthy. A love that gives and does not expect to receive. That’s how I see God’s love is and it is holy: it is pure. And it is not what the world has defined- with all its selfishness and pride .
So, is it safe to say that a love that is selfless is a love that is holy?