“Love is a verb”, the bumper sticker on the car that sped past me said.
That is true. Love is not just a noun, an abstract feeling that we hold, but love means action.
But as the car vanished from my sight, the bumper sticker lingered on in my thoughts for a while. One part of me agreed that love is more than a feeling; but is love only a verb—the act of loving? The bumper sticker is lying or at least hiding something. Love is more than that.
Contemporary culture has a perverted view of love as everybody defines love the way that suits them. Even when we love, we love the way we understand it. This ambivalence demands that we should have a touchstone for love, a standard against we can rate real love.
The bible claims that God is love. Love is not just an attribute of God, but it is the essence of God. Love is what God is. That leads us to conclude that only God knows what love is; to love in the true sense of the word is to love as God loves.
God’s love is sacrificial. It cost him something. In the supreme expression of his love for the world, he sacrificed the life of his son on the cross. Cross is the yardstick of love. Do we love to the extent of laying down our life for others? Christ defined real love as giving oneself up. It gains nothing but loses all that one has for the sake of the very act of loving.
God’s love is also blind in another sense. It doesn’t consider the worth of the person that he loves. God who loved the world to the extent of sacrificing his son knew very well that the world that he loves doesn’t deserve his love. Still, when humanity were sinners deserving his punishment, and so weak to help themselves, God the father poured out his love for them. Loving the way God loves demands us to love the people we may not always like. Loving ignores like and dislikes.
Love of God is also abundant; it has no limits. John, one of Jesus’ disciples aptly called the ‘beloved disciple’ exclaimed: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” The sinners receive not just a splatter of love, but “love as an ocean,” as the Sunday school song goes. Loving in its fullest sense sees no limits.
I fully agree with the thoughtful person who has the sticker that says, “love is a verb.” It is rightly so. That same bumper has space for another sticker too that says, “God is love.” The act of loving is superficial unless that act is modelled after God’s love.