We like to treat the month of February as the LOVE month. Hearts and flowers and candy are delivered to show love to our sweethearts as well as children and good friends.
- The dictionary defines love as:
- A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
- A feeling of warm personal attachment, as for a parent, child, or friend
This seems to define love as and emotional reaction to one person, or a few people. I know from experience emotional reaction is unpredictable and unreliable.
For a deeper teaching about love, I went to the book of John, in the New Testament of the Bible.
In John 15:12, Jesus commands that we love each other as he loved us.
Leafing through the pages of John, we see that Jesus’ love was more than a warm, fuzzy feeling. In chapter 13 of the book, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. This couldn’t have been a fun job. I love my children and grandchildren, and I gave many baths when they were young. But these guys were grown men who had been walking the dirty streets in sandals. Jesus had to strip off his outer garments, grab a towel and water bowl, and get down on his knees. He was the Lord, the Teacher, the Messiah. He taught Truth. He saved. He healed. He raised from the dead. This job was beneath him. It was that of a servant.
Jesus knew that shortly, he would sacrifice everything for those disciples—and the rest of us. He would endure the agony of the cross and the desolation of separation from God the Father as he took on the sin of the world.
Don’t you think he would have preferred to rest and to be cared for by others? He certainly deserved it. But he spent his last hours showing the extent of his love. (John 13:1)
Then came the teaching moment. He commanded the disciples to do the same, to love one another. They were to sacrifice for one another—put away pride and self-interest, to express the same love Jesus had for them.
We often think of Matthew 22:37, and its command to love others as we love ourselves. But as I think of the above passage and of the cross—Jesus loved us more than he loved himself.
Philippians 2:3-4 says to do away with rivalry and conceit, but in humility, consider others more significant.
Loving as Jesus loved, seems to mean more than treating others as we would want to be treated. Using my own feelings as a gauge is only the beginning of love. And February is only a yearly reminder to demonstrate love.