Is loving hard or easy? Well, it very much depends on what you are referring to by the word “love.” In much of modern, Western culture, love is presented as a feeling or a passion. If that is true, if love is really a feeling or an emotion, then we should think of love as something that happens to you, not as something you do. That is, after all, the way emotions work. Of course, we have control over how we will respond to the emotions we feel. But we do not have control of what emotions we experience at any given moment. We cannot control how we feel, but we can control how we behave in response to our feelings. In any given situation, I cannot choose whether to feel anger, for example. But I can and must choose what I will do with that feeling of anger, how I will act in light of my anger.
If love is simply an emotion or a feeling, then it is nonsensical to try to ask whether it is hard to love or easy. A feeling isn’t difficult or easy. It just is. You might speak of it as being pleasant or unpleasant, as being welcome or unwelcome. But emotions aren’t difficult or easy. They just are.
Here in 1 John 4:7-14, John speaks of love just as Jesus does. And they talk about love not as a feeling you experience, but rather as a way of life that you pursue. For Jesus (as for the apostle John) love is a thing you do, not a thing that you feel. And if you want to see what real love looks like, you look at Jesus.
So then, what is “love”? What is it for? How do we do it? What are the effects of love in our lives and in our faith?
According to the apostle John, doing love is how we most clearly experience the power and reality of God in our lives. And it is how we most clearly show the reality and power of God to the world around us.
Read 1 John 4:7-14.
Then, listen to “Words from the Beloved Apostle: Loving Like Jesus Again.”
©2013 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.