STAKE….Steak…. I love the English language…. For the most part, we have a number of words that sound the same, but mean entirely different things. Steak….it means just one thing… meat. STAKE, on the other hand, could mean “a stake in the ground;” or having a “stake” in a transaction or event.
The word that I’m leading up to, though, is LOVE. There is no other word for LOVE, but….LOVE. Yet, it’s probably the “most miss-used” word in the English language. What different types of LOVE is there? Love of wife. Love of dog. Love of woodworking. Love to ski. Love to fly airplanes. Love apple pie; hot-dogs. Love porno. Love to kill deer. Love to mud-wrestle. Love to swallow swords. And, then there is Loving God. On…and on. Except for a few, it’s all foolishness.
When we examine the definition of LOVE; we find it to reflect elements of Fondness, Tenderness, Warmth, Intimacy, Attachment, and Endearment. Now APPLY each of these descriptive characteristics, of LOVE, to each of those listed above. Does any of it make sense? How can we use the word LOVE so carelessly? I often hear people telling their friends (while getting ready to hang up the phone)….”Love you!” Do they “really mean it?” I KNOW that many people are absolutely genuine when they use the term…LOVE, but most, I would surmise….are using the word…LOVE…in the loose context.
The Bible says in Matthew 19:19 – “Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.” And probably another several dozen bible verses address the same issue. So… how do we LOVE ourselves? I’ve never thought in terms of LOVING myself, so I discount the verse(s) as not applying to me…but to others. But just recently, I realized that in the mornings, I have this occasional tendency to “observe” myself in the mirror. I do it while getting dressed, while combing my hair, even brushing my teeth. When I’m driving my car… I, sometimes, am looking at myself in the rear-view mirror. I’m sure all of us do this silly exercise. So then, I admit, that I am told by the Bible, and therefore God, to LOVE my neighbor as I “view myself” in the mirror. Is that LOVE? If it is, then I can handle that type, or measure of love.
I view it more of, liking my neighbor, as I like myself. I don’t love myself, like I love my wife, or children. I don’t love my neighbor like I love my wife and children. But I LIKE my neighbor as I LIKE myself. With all that said, then I could say: I like my dog, woodworking, skiing, flying airplanes, etc. Am I making any sense here? OK….I’m probably on this desert-island… all alone. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time there. ..so be it.
I think we ought to reserve the word LOVE for our family members, with very little exception, i.e. someone that we hold very dear and near to our heart. ……… 1 John 4:7-11 tells us: Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.
With that said; in “loving our neighbor as ourselves” (as the bible says) then there must be more than one type of LOVE…the family type, and the spiritual type. That, then, would make all the rest a bunch of double-talk. We’re being foolish; when we LOVE anything other than “our family and our God.” I consider that “our neighbor” is an extension of LOVING God; otherwise….everything else falls into the category of LIKING.
Let us not forget John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Romans 5:7-8 – For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.