We live in a world that doesn't really know what love is. It takes many different forms, from getting confused with lust or attraction, to "I love shoes".
As Christians we feel like we have a different view, the real view. But the truth is, a lot of us are still walking around afraid of love. Of it's wild and consuming nature. Of what it really means.
But if we are afraid of love, we are also afraid of God. God is Love. (1 John 4:8)
Usually the reason we are afraid of something is because we don't really understand it. We shouldn't be afraid of God, or of Love, because if we understood it completely we would know that as well as being big, and consuming, and powerful, God also promises to never let us down, never leave us or forsake us...so if we are completely safe, why are we afraid?
God is love - There are three ways to emphasise that statement.
GOD is love.
What is love? GOD is love. So when we are searching for the real meaning of love, the answer is God. Everything that God is, that is love. Eternal, powerful, compassionate, forgiving, holy, perfect. So when we show other people love, we are showing them God.
God IS love.
God doesn't just show love to us. He IS love. He is the embodiment of love. So everything he does will be about love - because that's who he IS. It's like everything you do will come from being a woman, or a man, because that's who you are. You don't just act like one, you ARE one. That doesn't change like a feeling, it isn't influenced by circumstance. Where ever you are, whatever you are doing, you are still a woman or a man. So in whatever situation, whatever context, whatever is going on - God IS Love. It's not a feeling that might change, it's not dependent on how good or bad you've been. It is as constant and unfailing as God himself. He IS love.
God is LOVE.
Who is God? He is LOVE. Perfect, amazing, unconditional, unending love. So when we are unsure what God is like, what hiss attitude towards us is, how he is going to respond to us, when we wonder "Who is he?". The answer is love.
We tend to be afraid of love because we sense that it is meant to be consuming and powerful, but we feel like anything like that is dangerous. That is makes us vulnerable. And we have been taught in our lives on earth that being vulnerable is not a good thing because it allows people to hurt us. And it unfortunately is often true in life that we will be hurt by other people, because we all have an incomplete, imperfect view of love and fail at showing it to other people.
But make sure you are separating the fallibility of humans from the real love that comes from God. Go to God with your search for an understanding of love. It seems dangerous, it seems big and overwhelming. You will need to make yourself vulnerable to Him. But you can be completely assured that His love is safe. That he will never let you down.
Without God, there is no love. God is love. You cannot separate the two. You cannot have one without the other. So no wonder the attempts at love in the world are failing so badly. No wonder we have no idea what it really means, that we've taken it and totally perverted it. We've tried to discard God and still have love. But that's just not possible.
So if you are afraid of Love. Afraid of loving someone, or letting someone love you, then the first, and only place to go is God. Find your definition and meaning and security in Him. Rather than searching for love in the world, let all your focus be on finding God's love. Let Him love you, and love for and from other people won't seem so hard anymore.
1 John 4: 7 - 12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.