“The meaning of life is love”
This line is spray painted under a bridge where i would drive past on a relatively regular basis.
I agree, and i would think most people in the world, secular, chrisitan, or other religion, would agree as well.
BUT love is such a big word.
When we say the meaning of life is love, what do we mean really?
Whose love, What love, How to love?
A definition for love is
a strong affection for another, based on kinship/personal ties, sexual desire, or admiration/benevolence
This is a very popular, but secular, idea, that love is affection. A love that cannot be faulted, a love that always vouch for tolerance and acceptance, a love that cannot and would not condemn.
But what/how should we consider love, really?
In the previous note, i have suggested that truth is in God alone. So i would like to explore what Godly love is actually like.
I would like to consider 2 things:
1. In 1 Cor 13, the famous Love passage
- – v1-3: without love, i am nothing, everything i do is of no benefit –> that sounds like it supports our theme of the meaning of life is love
- – v4-7: characteristics of love: patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protect, always trust, always hopes, always preserveres –>
2 things i would like to highlight here:
- does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth –> this does not sound like i should accept everything and condemn nothing.
- always preserveres –> I just want to point out that wedding vows are suppose to be a love that always preserveres. till death do you part, not till when the feelings are gone.
Either way, none of these qualities of love speaks of a strong affection toward someone/something, but rather, these qualities sounds like something we need to actively work on to live out.
I (and many Christians) believe that Jesus is the perfect manifestation of a perfect love, as He is both man and God. So lets look at some things Jesus said and done.
- Jesus’ cleansing of the temple.
In all 4 gospels, there are narratives of Jesus marching into the temple, flipped tables (One cool thing about Jesus is that i think He is the first recorded table flipper in history!), drove out merchants, and stated that “My house is a house of prayer, but you had made it a den of thieves!”
That doesnt look like a love that just accepted them as who they were, aren’t the merchants people that Jesus came to save as well? He still rebuked them.
- Jesus and the adulterer. (John 8: 1-11 story). Jesus stated, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus’s love offered forgiveness, but it also commanded her to not sin again. And the same applies to us, the subjects of Jesus’s love, his statement for us sinners are exactly the same. “Go and sin no more.”
Again, a love that convicts.
God is Love, but love is not God!
What i mean here is that while God is a perfect love, not all love are the same as God.
That is because when we use the word love, it can mean various different things, usually the concept that love must accept/tolerate anything and everything, otherwise it is not love. But i disagree, acceptance does not mean i support what you do, but rather, it means i accept you as who you are, but parts of your life (ie. parts of sin) still need to change.
God is bigger than that, He is also Justice, Faithfulness, Truth, Hope, Righteousness and so on.
What is the point of entering into a relationship of love if it does not change you?
God is beckoning for all of us to enter deeper into His perfect love, a love that accepts us as who we are, but also convicts us of our imperfection, so that we can face the right direction and be empowered to continue to say, “Thy will be done.”
So yes, the meaning of life is love, but its not the cheap alternative that the world offers, it is a Godly love. A love that is a will and dedication to serve, rather than mindless feeling or tolerance of anything and everything anyone does.
That is where I met Jesus