Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church

Hope and Healing For All People

The Language of Love

The English language is primarily Germanic in origin, whereas the Spanish language is primarily “Romantic” Latin in origin. I speak both languages, although my Spanish is getting rusty and previous tongue surgeries affects my diction. I learned early on that the word “Love” in English is used to describe almost anything and everything you want it to, whereas “Love” in Spanish is split into many different words, each with distinctly different meanings.

We can say we love cookies and we love God, but the meanings are as different as night and day. As I look back at the many religious articles written about “Love”, we English speakers are at a huge disadvantage, so the intended meaning can easily get diluted or lost altogether.

Intuitively, when we “love cookies,” we are really saying that we thoroughly enjoy eating yummy cookies. When we “love God,” we intuitively clump numerous things together that could define love, such as numerous types of emotion, praise, worship, works, responsibilities, awesomeness, and even fear.

The problem with many religious “Love” articles is that the depth of the conversation goes no deeper. Love is used as a metaphor, like being told to “take up your cross” and follow Jesus, or we go to Jesus and “fall on the rock.” We know intuitively that we are not taking up a literal cross, nor are we to fall on a literal rock, so what are we supposed to literally do or think when
we are told to “love God with all your heart and soul,” or to “love Jesus-God?” or Romans 13: 8-10 that says: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.”

As powerfully as these metaphors and sentences were written, the practical functional execution of love is still left hanging out there with little or no further definition. This is actually a BIG DEAL. For example, you are commanded as a true Christian to get out there with a continuing debt to love one another, and if you do that then you have fulfilled the law. So then, what are you to actually think or do next to demonstrate this “love”? We’re back full circle to square one, clumping numerous thing together that could define “love.”

How can we take this to the next level in just a few words? For me, the “Golden Rule” is a great start in Matthew 7: 12: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” For instance, have you ever said something to someone that you wish you could have taken back and eaten those words, but it was too late? So then, when someone does the same thing to you, will you be open to giving them a genuine “pass?” Another for instance, you secretly dislike or even hate someone, so you openly ignore them or look the other way, even if they are standing right in front of you. Next time you do that yourself, or you are even the recipient of that behavior, will you pray earnestly for the other person’s salvation, and remember that God loves them just as much as He loves you? When you have a moment, re-read 1Corinthians 13 regards practical love and how it applies to you. You will “love” it.

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