/ God's Love / Kit Swartz

When Will I Be Loved?

The Everly Brothers introduced a song by this title in the 1960s, Linda Ronstadt produced the definitive version in the 70s and the question resonates with every human being.  Everyone wants to be loved.  This is an important truth for every community because, if someone is not loved, they find it difficult to love.  You can’t give what you’ve never received.  Just as surely as most abusers have been abused, so also those who love have been loved.  The ideal of husbands loving their wives who then love their children who then love the next generation and who all love God and their neighbor, is a pillar of the health of a community.

But if all this is true, there must be an ultimate source for this river of love that cascades through relationships and generations.  In the Christian faith, this source is God.  The Apostle John declares that God is love and enables others to love.  The Great Commandment to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself is not only ordered by God but also initiated, enabled and sustained by Him.  God is the ultimate fountain of love from whom every other river of love flows.  Even God’s wrath is best understood as His response to the rejection of His love.  Hell hath the fury of God’s love scorned. 

We will simplify for the purpose of usefulness: the Greeks recognized three kinds of love: eros, which is the love that takes from what it loves; philos, which is the love that exchanges with what it loves and agape, which is the love that gives to what it loves.  Eros is the kind of love that tears relationships and communities apart with rape, fornication, adultery and the disease, divorce and single-parenting that often result from it.  Philos, and especially agape, are the kinds of love that make a community thrive.  Agape is the kind of love that insists on its duty rather than its right; that insists on the rights of others rather than on its own rights alone.  To paraphrase, in application, John F. Kennedy’s great exhortation we could say, “Ask not what your community can do for you; ask what you can do for your community”.  That is love.  And that is the kind of love that makes a marriage, a family, a business, a church and a community survive and thrive.  Being loved in order to love is the high privilege and calling of human beings in community.  Experiencing the Lord of God in Jesus Christ is the only way we can be enabled to love truly and with perseverance.  We love, because He first loved us. Look for love in the only right place: God in Christ.