The Downside of Love

This won’t be all that profound, so if you’re looking for profound wait a couple more days for someone else’s post. Just wanted to share a quick lesson I’ve been reminded of the past few weeks.

There is a downside to love. Some might see that as an oxymoron. After all, love is wonderful and freeing and makes you feel valued and warm and cuddly. All you need is love, right? Whether you give or receive, love is easy and will make the world better…right?

We’re all tempted to think that way sometimes. Maybe it’s because of music, movies, or literature. Romantic comedies and novels are as popular as ever, and many of the lyrics to the Top 40 songs that crowd the airwaves make me want to pull my hair out. Or maybe it’s from cherry-picked bible verses. Song of Songs is awfully rosy and romantic. Proverbs 31 was one of my favorite passages as a young lad.

But love is not easy, there is a cost. I believe Keith has said before in a sermon something along the lines of “truly loving someone will cost you.” There is a cost to love, there is a downside. When a loved one goes through a difficult time, it hurts. It’s emotionally exhausting. When a loved one is in need, it requires your time, effort, energy. Truly loving someone is going to really cost you.

But a love like that will not be foreign to a Christian. We’ve heard of it before. Several verses found in the Gospel of John:

13:34 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

15:9 – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”

15:12-13 – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

And of course that is the point. For us, love costs us something. For Jesus, it cost him everything. God the Father willingly sacrificed his Son. His Son. Don’t skip past that so fast. Do you have kids? How many? The Father had one, and he loves us so much that he gave him up. And Jesus was literally God, yet he gave up some of his rights and powers, and died an agonizingly painful death – and not just the physical pain, although crucifixion is about as bad as it gets, but the spiritual pain to be forsaken by his Father and to take on the guilt, shame, and wrath of your sin and mine – because he loved us.

If you are committed to loving others, be prepared to hurt, be prepared to sacrifice. We’re only following in our Savior’s footsteps.

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