If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Love is a pretty big deal. It’s paramount to the Christian faith. Jesus even says in Matthew 22:37-40 that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. If you follow those two commandments, you’ll follow the original ten. John even states that God is love in 1 John 4. It must be pretty important, then.
What is the opposite of love? As a child, I would answer “Hate.” In recent years, I came to the conclusion that indifference is a more accurate response. But the true antithesis of this genuine, unadulterated, selfless, unconditional love that comes from God is selfishness. Think about those commandments. Nowhere in Christ’s speech does He say that one must love himself. This is what makes God’s love so radical. Humans are inclined to think of themselves first, but Christ came down to reverse that. The cure for selfishness is love.
Society got it all wrong when we came to the conclusion that we need to love ourselves in order to love others or have others love us. I’ve come to another conclusion: We must allow others to love us and let that love change us. Once we can accept God’s love, we are able to love others. It’s so huge that it transforms us, or at least it should. When every single person stops worrying about loving themselves and starts focusing on loving God and others, every single person will be covered and filled with the highest form of love.
This sounds idealized, and in a perfect world, with perfect people, it works. But not everyone in this world will choose to love each person in their lives unconditionally. In fact, very few people will. Fear and selfishness creep in when we try to make these breakthroughs. We worry, “Who will love me?” The answer is simple enough: God. He’s already proven His love to us. It’s time to pay it forward to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our acquaintances, and our enemies.
Jesus came to preach this radical love that changes people. Don’t you think it’s about time to let it change you?