We learn from life the many things that we need to know to exist and/or to live. We weigh and measure both the good and the bad to determine value. Must we taste it all to make our decisions or can we rely on what we are told or read about in the Word that God left for us to comprehend? Do we have the strength to trust the very breath we breathe to someone else, someone who already knows what it is to suffer more than the human body can begin to understand? That really is a good question because those of us who think we know and understand will automatically give a positive answer and yet I wonder if the unthinkable crosses our path will our positive answer fade as fast as our feet can run.
I, quite naturally, want those who know me to think the best of me and yet there are times when I wonder just exactly what I would do. God’s Word does tell us that You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). There are those situations when we can honestly say we would die for our children or our spouse, but if someone else was involved would we stand simply for what we believe or would we run and when safe pray for forgiveness. I realize that there are many situations when we would not have a choice; our world as we know it is changing even as we read.
Love, fortunately, has a comfortable side as well as a scary one. It goes with us every day in some sort of an experience. It comes in conjunction with a hug for someone we have an emotional tie with; it brings a smile to our face when we see something unexpectedly sweet in our friends, a neighbor, even a stranger who is passing on a gift that brightens another’s day. We also observe it in nature and in the animal realm. Many of us know the love of a dear pet or we see it in the beauty of our surroundings. God’s love can not be missed when we notice the flowers, the birds, the smiles on faces. There are so very many things that show the Father’s love to us without any painful side effects.
The problem arises when the tough side of life rears its ugly head; when we are told to love those who knowingly have evil in their hearts, those who cannot comprehend love and allow hatred to rule their lives. Will the Lord understand if we have no desire to love them? Can we comprehend paying a price for their salvation? I honestly know some that I truly believe would have no trouble in giving up their lives for another. The honest question is would I be able to join them in their response or would I turn away in fear?
When the good Samaritan stopped by the side of the road to help a stranger he didn’t stop to think about what he might gain from being a good citizen. He saw a man in trouble and he reacted without thought. In today’s world we find ourselves cautioning our children to look before they leap. After all our world is considerably more evil today than it was in Jesus’ time. The good Samaritan didn’t count the cost, assuring the innkeeper that whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you (Luke 10:35).
If you were to get technical, as human beings often try to do, you would have a hard time trying to measure love. The closest we can come and the hardest for our understanding is the definition found in the book of John which tells us that Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (15:13).
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1st John 4:8).