I have spent the last few days sharing with you the thoughts behind the phrase theology of love. This was a phrase that came up in a discussion that I had with a colleague last week. So today I want to focus in on the word love.
The word love is probably one of the most overused words in the English language. Because of this high amount of use, it seems that the word has a huge number of definitions and purposes. The word is used in references toward individuals, romantic situations, objects, pasttimes, sports teams, and experiences. So I think it is important to understand how this word fits into the phrase theology of love.
As I pointed out yesterday, theology is in reference to our understanding of God. So it makes sense that whe love is used in this phrase, I am using it in regards to my understanding of God. I also lifted up words from 1 John in yesterday’s post that defines who God is by the word love. This concept of love is a very encompassing one. As it is used in reference to the Lord, I understand it to be caring, accepting, receiving, giving, guiding, forgiving, empowering, encouraging, and supporting. It creates feelings of safety, calm, strength, acceptance, and assurance. The image of an oversized, cushioned chair comes to mind.
This type of love is a rare commodity in our world. Many of expressions of love between individuals contain some elements of what I have described but usually not all and almost never consistently. Yet, this is the love that is expressed throughout the revelations of God. It is also the standard of love that Jesus has called all of us to:
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35 MSG)
So when I raise the phrase, theology of love, I believe it applies to our understanding of God and how God operates. But I also believe it applies to how we are to live and to approach one another.