Recently, I began an interesting course through an online portal. I complete courses for free, on various topics, from renown universities. (Like Princeton, Harvard etc.) The course that I signed up for was called, ‘Love as a force for social justice’. There are videos, a set book and discussion groups, as well as assignments that you complete. I was pleasantly surprised at the course, and its content, which I have been totally enjoying.
A neuroscientist describes love (as part of the course) as perfect communication and perfect connection. He describes true love as the courage to communicate, the ability to connect and to take a risk to express it. Good intentions never fully express love, the way actions do.
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The course begins by speaking about Agape love, which is unconditional love, made up of compassion and kindness (To simplify it) As believers, we know that the only source of Agape love, is from God. They also go into the various types of love, for example Eros– which is more about possessing, than about loving.
There’s a great example in the set book (The Art and Practice of Loving, by Frank Andrews). He says, that we see people get married to the ‘perfect’ person, raise the ‘perfect’ children, yet are unable to sustain real affection, warmth and intimacy.
People build up their bank accounts, yet never experience true wealth, or enjoyment of their money.
Here are a couple questions that you can ask yourself regarding true love:
- What does love mean to me?
- How does it look like?
- Recall times you felt truly loved?
One of the most profound thoughts from the course was that cultivating the art of loving, involves many things. One, increasing the number of objects, people and activities you are willing to love. When we limit our loving to a select few, who also promise us the return of love, are we really taking a risk and being vulnerable with our love? Or are we playing it safe?
Organizations like Samaritans Purse, Compassion and IJM are founded on the intrinsic worth and value of every person. It is not just based on their name or nationality, but based on their humanness, which we all share.
Just as Paul said, that the love of Christ compelled him, to share the gospel, no matter the cost. We must realize that love does cost us.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV
In order for God to show his love and gain a relationship with us, a cost had to be paid, in the form of His son being sacrificed on a cross.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16 NKJV
Love is self-sacrificial and gives, of time, effort, resources, and treasure. True Love can be a feeling, but beyond that, love is an act of loving-kindness and compassion. Love truly has the ability to change the world for better. It can be the most active force in the combat against injustice. This can be done, not by focusing on the bad, but by growing the good.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18