We’re right in between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Perhaps you’ve been wondering how to celebrate your parents in this unusual season. Maybe you’ve been scouring Amazon to find the perfect gift to send them. To some of you, one or both of these special days might be bittersweet. Let’s take this time to be thankful to God for parents (or parent figures) who have shown us such unconditional love throughout our lives.
What is love anyway?
Love is described profoundly and famously in this scripture:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
So here we see 16 actions: (8) on what love is and (8) on what love is not.
- Patient – God keeps his cool!
- Kind – acts of kindness (through our hands).
- Rejoicing with the truth.
- Always Protecting.
- Always trusting (believing for the best).
- Always hoping.
- Always persevering.
Love Is Not:
- Boastful (bragging)
- Dishonoring others (being shameful/disrespectful)
- Self-seeking (selfish)
- Easily angered (irritable and sensitive).
- Keeping a record of wrongs.
- Delighting (celebrating) in evil (wrong things).
It’s interesting to note that love is defined and described in this scripture by what it is and what it is not. If the definition and description in 1 Corinthians isn’t enough, God models love through His own actions:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NIV
The Greek word for love in this scripture is “agape,” and agape love is God’s active love. God demonstrated that He “so loved the world” through His action of sending His son into the world. It’s not about feelings of love but about action.
One question that often comes up is “Does God love us unconditionally?”
The answer based on John 3:16 would have to be:
First part of the scripture – Yes
Second part of the scripture – No
God extends love to us, but it’s then up to us to embrace it and make it part of who we are, like the description in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV.
God’s love for us is like that of a father for his child. God loving on us doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want.
I remember that when my kids were toddlers they didn’t know how to cross the road. As a parent, I had to keep a close eye on them and hold their little hands when we were getting close to crossing the road. I had to explain that it was important for us to wait for the traffic lights to change before walking and to look both ways before crossing to the other side. It was hard for my kids to understand why they had to stop and wait when their favorite kids play area called to them from just across the road.
Was it mean of me to stop them from crossing? Should I have let them cross whenever they wanted? Most parents will agree that restraining and training our children is important for their safety. As an adult, I understand the dangers that my child isn’t aware of yet.
So I need to protect them and train them. Not because I’m mean, but because I love them. So it is with God and us. His ways are higher than my ways, and He Knows what lies ahead, so I need to stick close to Him. I need to let him restrain me, train me, and love me. My prayer is that you will embrace God’s kind of love, which is unconditional yet active!