By Raymond E. Harris
We Americans have a terrible time with the word “love.” The word is often used in the place of sex. It is confused with passion and TV writers seem to want to apply it to everything. Think about the TV commercials for a moment. Few words are used more. They always “just love” whatever their product is. Hence, we see people who “love” their new fangled baby disposable diapers, their shampoo, their new car or Mrs. “Puckers” new chocolate cake mix.
All this commercial misuse of the word “love” has formed a smoke screen that prevents the American public from understanding the deeper, richer meaning of love. Obviously, the word “love” can have several meanings, but we must never lose sight of its more meaningful usage.
When one is taught to “love” God, he is taught to reverence, respect, fear and obey Him! When husbands and wives are taught to love one another, they are taught to honor, prize, respect and cherish one another. When parents and children, and brothers and sisters love one another, there is to be the warm natural affection that can even be found in the animal kingdom. And in the Bible we learn that in the broadest sense the word “love” is defined by the “Golden Rule.” (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” [Matt. 7:12].)
Hence, when the word “love” is considered in the context of Bible usage it is a warm, wholesome, moral word that demands action.
Jesus said the first and great commandment was to “love God with all our heart, soul and mind” (Matt. 22:37). From Matthew 22:39, we learn that the second greatest commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” And, a more extensive examination of the Scriptures unfolds to us a yet clearer understanding of “love.” Please note:
a. In Romans 12:15, we learn that when we are filled with love we will “rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
b. A heart filled with love is a heart of compassion and forgiveness (Col. 3:13).
c. Love motivates us to “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:1-2).
So, it was a most serious thing when Jesus commanded is followers to “love one another” (1 John 4:7,11).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 18, p. 554
September 20, 1984