Love seems pretty easy.
When people hear that love is the main responsibility of Christianity, I think most take a deep sigh of relief.
“Love? That’s it? That’s easy!”
Then we come to find out love has big, sharp, nasty, pointy teeth and all of a sudden we want to run away.
Don’t think love has big, sharp, nasty, pointy teeth? Then I’d declare you do not know what love is.
The Gospel is God’s demonstration of love toward us.
The Gospel isn’t just about us identifying with Christ; it’s also about Christ identifying with us. He identified with the results of sin.
He was wounded.
He was bruised.
He was chastised.
He was scourged and whipped.
He was crucified.
In all this, we see God’s love to those who have suffered due to sin.
Just getting beat up didn’t save anyone, but God lowered Himself and became obedient even unto death. He tasted the results of sin, the curse of sin, and ultimately the wages of sin–death.
There is much humility here. When Jesus said, “As you do to the least of these you do to me” He really meant that.Christ gave His life for the least of these. Now go do the same and show the love of Christ.
Love hurts. Love is sacrificial. Before honor comes humiliation. Too often we jump too quickly to honor and shrink when humiliation arises.
The cross is a torture device; yet God turned it into a symbol of His love for us. A torture device symbolizes His love. A torture device.
Granted, love has many upsides–He endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. Don’t mean to picture this all as negative.
My fear, however, is that we’ve pictured it way too one-sided on the happy side, and thus made a caricature of love.
Christian love and the common notion of love have a few things in common, but where they differ makes all the difference!
If your using of Christian love doesn’t have some pain in it, you might not be doing it right. More to the point–you may not know what God’s love is, and perhaps the Gospel is still just a story to you.