The Bible clearly states that true love is from God. In fact such love is so much part of God’s character that the Apostle John writes that ‘God is Love’. God’s love is shown above all in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of human beings. Much of the Bible explains the nature of God’s love and how men and women are to reflect it in their own lives (1 John 4:7-12). Our duty towards God and others is summarised in the Ten Commandments, which are themselves summarised by Jesus in two ‘love’ commands, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind’ and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ .
God, not man, defines true love – how it is to be expressed and who it is to be directed towards. This is a big subject but we can note a few things here.
We are commanded by God to love Him and our neighbour. The word ‘love’ here is ‘agape’ in the Greek, this is a compassionate self-sacrificing love concerned, not with how we feel, but with the benefit of the person we love. The Good Samaritan expressed this love by sacrificially caring for the man who fell among thieves .
The Ten Commandments show us how we can express this love to God and our neighbour in the different contexts of our individual lives. How we rightly express sexual love is defined by the Seventh Commandment – ‘You shall not commit adultery’. This commandment limits sexual activity to within (heterosexual) marriage. Put another way, sexual expression in any other context will not please God or benefit our neighbour. Whatever our desires and emotions tell us, it will not have the true interest of the other person at heart. There is a certain love which is not really loving at all but is sin against God and damaging to others.
Beware then of such catchy posters. Rejecting all labels and limits is a serious matter before God. We are accountable to God for whom we love and how.
- Luke 10:27 “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
- Luke 10:36-37 ” Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.””