Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Greatest Love of All

An edited version of my Morning Thought, for BBC Radio Wiltshire

Whitney Houston’s song The Greatest Love of All proclaims,

Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Is that right? I don’t think so. True love is about reaching out to others rather than self-fulfilment. We all know what love is, but it is difficult to define it in words. The family paper we had when I was a lad carried the “Love is” cartoon strip. Some of them were quite good, with things like, “Love is… wanting to give her the moon and the stars.” And “Love is… a feeling to treasure.” Well, that’s all very nice and romantic, but there’s more to love than that. On yesterday’s show Graham was talking about acts of kindness. He spoke to a “secret millionaire” who had helped people in need. That kind of generosity which seeks the good of other people is getting close to what love is all about.

According to the Christian faith, love is the chief virtue. The apostle Paul spoke of “faith hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love”. (1 Corinthians 13:13). Without love faith, charitable giving and even martyrdom are totally without profit. John wrote in one of his letters, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8). Did you catch that? “God is love.” The one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit exists in an eternal union of love. He loves us too. Do you doubt that? Then consider this display of God’s love,

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).

Now, is easy to love our friends who are kind and generous to us. It is not so easy to love our enemies. But God loves his enemies, “sinners” like you and me who have turned their backs upon him. To receive God’s offer of new life in Christ is to immerse your soul in love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10).

Now that’s the greatest love of all.

You can listen to recordings of this week's Graham Seaman breakfast show here. I'm on about 45 minutes into the programme.

1 comment:

Kevin Schutte said...

Regardless of whether it is the greatest love of all, I think you fail to esteem (at least here) the value of learning to love oneself. It sounds very much like you don't have any idea how debilitating it is to be without this knowledge/ability.