Real love is a radical concept.  It is something that people have learned to profess, – “I love you brother”- but often don’t quite understand.  The truth is, we often mistake love for brotherly kindness.  In that way, we may develop our people-skills well enough that we are caught being nice to people that we wouldn’t have been nice to at one point in our lives.  We then identify that as love.  As mentioned in the last chapter, brotherly kindness is even translated as brotherly love in some versions of the Bible.  But real love goes beyond being nice.  Real love is more than being affectionate. Real love is radical because it requires sacrifice.  Real love is doing what’s best for the other person, even if it costs you something – even if it costs you a lot.

An example of the difference between brotherly kindness and love can be seen in the relationship between Abraham and his nephew Lot.  In Genesis chapter 13, Abraham has been blessed greatly by God and has accumulated a lot of stuff, including servants and livestock.  His nephew who lived with him had also accumulated stuff, and one day Abraham decided that they needed to split up so that they could have more room.  Abraham went to Lot and pitched the idea.  In a magnanimous gesture, Abraham told him, “If you go take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”  (Genesis 13:9)  Abraham was showing brotherly kindness. He was being nice.  Since Abraham was the older of the two and the uncle, he could have chosen the land he wanted first, but allowed Lot to choose the best of the land and Abraham took what was left.  Years later, Abraham found out that his nephew had been taken captive by an army that had defeated the people who lived around the city that Lot had chosen.  Now Abraham could have said, “Well it serves him right, since he chose those cities now he has to deal with it”.  But this is where he exemplifies love.  Abraham sacrificed himself and his household by gathering his men together and going off to rescue Lot.  Abraham risked his own life to save his nephew.  That’s love.

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “The 2nd Peter Principle”.

3 thoughts on “Real Love

  1. Good insight. Causes me to wonder when I confuse the two concepts of kindness and love…probably using the word love too much and kindness not enough.

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  2. Love the way many understand love is a feeling an emotion. When we face difficulties in our relationships, being human those feelings often wane. This is not the sacrificial love that scriptures speak about a true love that with time becomes mature and focuses on the beloved not ourselves. The 2nd commandment tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves it doesn’t get any clearer than that, why then is it so hard for us to love like that?

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  3. I am still learning what “love” is. I taught a VBS class recently based on 1Cor 13. And gained additional insight. Now I see love as a “living force”. The God kind of love is the spirit of God in us doing the things above and beyond what our natural abilities and nature can do. Remember, true love bears up under all situations and circumstances ; and never gives up. Thats why it is the greatest force we know.

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