[Just for You]

If You Want to Understand Love

A young man in New York City recently shot his girlfriend. The picture in the newspaper showed them sitting together with happy smiles on their faces. The headline read, "I KILLED HER BECAUSE I LOVED HER." The tragic story told of a marred relationship in which at times he beat her.

She finally could put up with it no more. In their last encounter, she pulled a knife on him and the relationship ended.

A suicide note he wrote just before he shot and severely wounded her and then killed himself expressed his torment at losing her. In it he stated that because he loved her, he was going to kill her.

In contrast, a number of years ago, two brothers were living together in San Francisco. One brother lived a wild life of drinking, gambling, and fighting. The other brother had trusted in Jesus to save him from his sin and therefore lived a life of love and service to others as Jesus taught His followers.

One night, the first brother was gambling in a card game with high stakes. Tempers flared as a dispute arose, and he stabbed and killed another man. He fled the scene, went home, changed clothes, and left to evade the police.

Seeing what had happened, the brother who believed in Jesus put on the bloody clothes of the murderer. Before long, police arrived at the home and arrested him. He was tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed. He did it because he loved his brother.

How can two people have such radically different actions when both people claim their actions are motivated by love?

Obviously love can mean completely different things to different people. Let's look at two kinds of love.

LOVE = I HAVE AFFECTIONATE FEELINGS FOR YOU: This is the common romantic definition of love. This love desires another person because it enjoys that person's company, beauty, or some other quality. This love is not necessarily good or bad. However, when a person acts on this love only, selfishness results.

The young man who wanted the young woman is an extreme example of this love turned selfish. When he realized he couldn't have her, he wanted her dead. He cared about his own desires so intensely that he totally disregarded the good of the young woman.

So unless affectionate feelings are guided by the next type of love, they degenerate into selfishness rather than true love.

LOVE = I WANT THE BEST FOR YOU: In the second incident, the man's love for his brother motivated him to seek for his good no matter the cost. He gave the ultimate sacrifice--his own life--so that his brother might have another opportunity, not only for physical life, but also for eternal life.

This is how God loves us. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. This is something almost impossible to understand. God loved us when we were enemies of His by our own choice.

Think of your worst enemy. Now think of sacrificing the person or thing you love most--your son, your daughter, your fortune, your home--for that person. That is just a small, imperfect comparison of what God did for us when He gave Jesus Christ.

The love that Jesus lived out in life and death, and the love that is produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is explained in I Corinthians 13. Here are some characteristics of that love.

Love is patient -- It doesn't give up easily on the other person when he makes a mistake.

Love is kind -- It is always looking for opportunities to do good.

Love does not envy -- It is happy when someone else does well even at our expense.

Love is not proud and doesn't boast -- It sees that all good we have is a gift from God. It credits others for ways they have helped us.

Love is not rude -- It is always sensitive to the feelings and needs of the other person.

Love does not become angry easily -- When injustice occurs, it yields its right for revenge to God. It remembers that we, too, need the forgiveness of God and others.

How does your love measure up to God's definition of love? God wants you to experience and be filled with His love so you can share it too. Will you give Him the opportunity?



of false foundations this world offers.

"He that trusteth in his riches shall fall" (Proverbs 11:28).

"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26).

"The expectation of the wicked shall perish" (Proverbs 10:28).

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).


Jesus Christ, the only secure foundation.

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).

"Therefore also now, saith the L ord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning" (Joel 2:12).


on your new faith in Jesus Christ.

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 20, 21).

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

Read God's Word. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . . for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished [fully equipped] unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

"Acceptance with God does not come through perfection but through repentance."


© Copyright, Christian Light Publications

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