"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

27 August 2007

Put a little love in your heart

by Ben

I read Song of Songs 1-2 and the Interpreter's Bible Commentary: "I. The Language of Love."

Regarding the language of love that is used within the Song of Songs, although much of the language is unique to this book, the idea conveyed by both the words and the style of writing can be found throughout the Bible. The agape love revealed in the New Testament and the ahebh love of the Old Testament are condensed into the writing of this book. As the young lovers address and describe each other, we see that they look past their partners failings, loving them with a boundless love. Yet, while experiencing this "spontaneous, creative love," the young couple each feels insecure and unworthy of accepting the other's feelings.

"The language of love, however, is infinitely more than words and phrases. Love expresses itself not so much in what it says as in what it is and does. This is clearly implied in the Song of Songs by the uniquely personal character of the book. It is the only book in the Bible composed completely of direct personal address. And although the lovers speak of their love in exquisite language, what they say to each other is that love is personal togetherness."

As we apply this way of love to our own relationships, we begin to realize our own shortcomings. While often being marginally successful at maintaining togetherness in spousal relations, we often fail miserably in making it a priority in familial relationships and especially so in relationships with those that we gain nothing in response. Consider: when was the last time that you shared life with someone you don't get along with?

As Christians, we put on the face, make the small talk, and suffer our way through unconfortable moments, when we should be striving to make the uncomfortable moments comfortable, to genuinely care about people who we disagree with, and going out of our way to learn about the experiences of strangers with a desire to grow to care about their well-being. Yet, we remain stern and keep a "safe" distance from the hearts of those around us.

The capacity for love that God gave us is not to be reserved for our favorites, but should be given to the least of these. We are all undeserving, and that is what makes us so deserving. But in following Christ, we need to reach out beyond ourselves to love (agape) - not just the ones we feel like loving. That is love based on who the person is and what they do. In striving to love like God, we need to love based on who we are, not on who we are trying to love.


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