As the internationally recognized “day of love” fast approaches, it is important to remember that there is everlasting power and profundity in true love. Valentine’s Day is a highly-anticipated day when people all around the globe express their love, romance and affection for their significant others in various ways, but there is a more excellent love than the brand of love promoted on Feb. 14.
The love I am speaking of is perhaps the most powerful force in the universe. This kind of love doesn’t refer to kisses, buying roses or going out on expensive, romantic dates.
The love of God or agape (unconditional, sacrificial or selfless) love is the superior, the highest, the most ultimate form of love that exists in the earth.
The Holy Bible, a Christian’s sacred text, places a sharp emphasis on love, feasibly more than any other book ever known to man. Multiple scriptures – Old and New Testament – accentuate and outline the importance of God’s love to humanity, the necessity for mankind and womankind to show love to one another – including their enemies.
After thorough study and analysis of the Scriptures, one will find that love is the greatest characteristic someone can possess. And how the Bible defines love is vastly different than what many perceive love to be; there’s a ‘natural’ or physical side to exhibiting love, just as there is a spiritual aspect too.
The Lord Jesus Christ (who wasn’t a silky-haired white man by the way) underlined the most supreme commandment in Matthew 22:37-40, when a lawyer asked him what was the great commandment in the law. Jesus responded, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Likewise, God delivered a commandment to the children of Israel in Leviticus 19:18 as He outlined the seriousness of righteous judgment, when he said “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.”
The apostle Paul, who authored majority of the New Testament and is regarded as one of the most influential evangelists who ever lived, also wrote on the immensity and power of love. In Romans 5:5, Paul wrote that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” and urged those in Rome in the 12th chapter of that same book to “recompense to no man evil for evil,” and to “live peaceably with all men.”
Similarly, contained in the epistles of John are a compilation of verses which highlight the love of God to the utmost degree, namely I John 4:8, which reads: “He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love.” This verse alone is overwhelming evidence that love the most divine characteristic one can portray as a Christian, and as a well-rounded human being.
The most honorable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best. In his quest and firm stance on nonviolence, he said that the way to put a fire (hatred) out is to mix it with water (love). Fire and fire, he said, will only make matters worse. Strangely as it may sound or seem, showing love to enemies – which does not mean being docile or passive – is one of the first steps humankind can take to eradicating the evil prevailing in the world.
A man expressing love for his wife or girlfriend on esteemed special days like Valentine’s Day is perfectly fine, but we as a human race must recognize that a more significant love – the love that comes from God – that is eternal, mends broken relationships, aids the impoverished and ministers to the brokenhearted.
This kind of love is the potent force that will steer humanity in the right direction – the direction of righteousness, peace, justice and true freedom.
Demetrius Dillard is a recent graduate of Winston-Salem State University and a North Carolina-based freelance writer.