BY JASMIN BORJA
And I will show you a still more excellent way.I Cor. 12:31
— But wait, what about other people? Can we stop loving people, too?
— Well, people get divorced all the time. Sometimes it ends up that they actually hate each other afterwards. So yes, people can stop loving. There are cases when Christians also divorce: it happens. It’s sad, but it happens.
It’s sad because… Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.I Jn. 4:8
— But, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to love as God does? Like, “we love because he first loved us” I Jn. 4:19 sort of deal? We get our love from God, so shouldn’t we emulate that perfect love towards others?
— Yes, we strive to be like God, but we’re still human. We fall short. If we forced ourselves to be responsible for perfectly loving like God does, then we’d tire ourselves out and still not make the cut. There’s a limit to our love.
Love never ends. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge. Gifts from God. Limits? Yes, they will cease, they will be stilled, it will pass. But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.I Cor. 13:8–10 Has perfection come?
— I know that we aren’t perfect yet. Someone was, though: hasn’t perfection already come? Christ has come and he still is. Isn’t talking about our limits not as helpful as talking about His limitlessness?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Rom. 8:38–39
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.I Jn. 4:7
The nature of love is not seamless. At least, not in the way we as humans imagine it to be. There are a lot of holes in the fabric. Tears we aren’t able to reconcile – “irreconcilable differences” in marriage, for instance. Human love relationships are liable to wear and tear. Even Christians translating God’s love into person-to-person interactions are vulnerable to our limits as humans. Even Christians get divorced. To err is human, right?
A still more excellent way…
A good friend of mine commented on my broodings about the age-old question concerning the nature of love. Or rather, more appropriately, commented on the related question concerning the constraints of human limitation:
— I think that once we’ve become Christians, we no longer have that excuse that our old nature causes us to sin or even to stop loving. It’s a fact that it happens, but as God’s children, we should be more prone towards being Christ-like than being human-like.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.Eph. 2:4 Alive because of his love, with Christ because of his love…Christ-like! We love because he first loved us.
The secret to the nature of love: It’s seamless! It’s perfect! It’s already come! Mystery revealed.
The great love that enables Christ-followers to be resurrected from spiritual and physical death is the same love that we are encouraged to demonstrate to the world. Love one another. As he loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are his.Jn. 13:34–35 On this point, another good friend contributed to my growing discourse:
— We should strive to be like God, given his example of perfect love. We want to shape our love for others with that same perfection and constancy.
Perfection and constancy are not the first two traits people use to describe human love. Is aiming for these things unrealistic? What is realistic? Realistic is what God defines as “real,” as in: his original plan. Realistic is what he has already done through his death on the cross and resurrection. Realistic is looking to God for our definition of love, and acting accordingly. Why is perfectly loving, then, unrealistic?
For all utilitarian purposes, on the spectrum of human fallibility – ten being loving exactly as God does, one being loving not at all – where do we stand? I would dare to say that we lean more toward the lower half of the scale. Why? Because looking at our limitations of love blinds us from seeing (and having faith in) his infinite love. God is love. Why don’t we believe in him, then?