Have you ever been in love? I don’t mean in lust or infatuation. I mean unbridled, unending, unstoppable true love. The kind of love that grows stronger each and every day of your life. The kind of love that endures all kinds of struggles, no matter the distance, no matter how unfeasible the situation. Most agree that this kind of love only comes once in a lifetime and if thrown away never comes back.
Our love for others may cost us much pain. Do not confuse the pain of love with the pain of unbridled lust. Immorality is often glorified in our culture in songs, in movies, and novels. One who commits fornication goes like an ox “to the slaughter” or a bird “to the snare” – “he that does it destroys his own soul” (Prov. 7:22-23; 6:32). Truly, “the way of transgressors is hard” (13:15).
We should love others enough to make sacrifices and to suffer pain for their good. Such pain increases when a person whom we try to help does not realize what he needs and does not understand or appreciate what we are doing for him. As parents we see our children in tears at different stages of life because of decisions we make or our disciplinary action. Loving our children brings pain to both them and ourselves.
Genuine love is never cheap. True love means paying a great price.”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). Imagine God’s agony when He saw the way the world treated His beloved Son. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11). This means that after many centuries of preparing the Jews to receive His Son, many of them rejected Him. Loving us cost Jesus Christ the glories of heaven. As Deity He was originally “in the form of God,” but He willingly “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
True love requires teaching men the truth, which can be painful. It must be done if we love the lost, no matter how much pain it brings. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). But those He taught did not want to hear about their sins. It was not easy for Jesus to tell them, “You are of your father the devil,” and not easy for them to hear it (v. 44). Men must be convicted of sin before they can be saved. Jesus told His Apostles to preach the gospel, including this: “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). It is not easy for Christians to preach or for sinners to hear that all men are lost until they repent and are immersed in water upon confessed faith in Christ, but we must speak “the truth in love” (Acts 2:38 f; Eph. 4:15).
Paul regretted having to point out the sins of Christians in Corinth, but then he rejoiced to see them correct their lives (2 Cor. 7:8-11). It is never easy to deal with sin in the camp (Josh. 7). When Christians refuse to repent, the Holy Spirit commanded the church “that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly” (2 Thess. 3:6). The purpose is to cause him to repent that he may again be saved (1 Cor. 5:4-5).
True love never dies. When you truly love someone, you will always love that person. You may not be able to live with them because of their abuse, but you still care for them and are always willing to forgive them and take them back if they will change their evil ways. Often, true love goes unrequited. God still loves the world, and still has his hand stretched out still, but does the world love him? If we love God we will keep his commandments (Jn 14:15). God has proved his love for mankind. Its time we prove our love for him. Obey His gospel and remain faithful and allow God to show his undying love for you.