Love may be a “many-splendoured thing” but, as words go, it’s a tricky customer.
Think about the way we use it: I love my wife, I love chocolate, I love my mother, I love my kids, I love fishing, I love Australia – you see what I mean? We have to work hard at unravelling what we mean by “love”.
It all depends on where we find it.
Many other languages are more careful with it.
They have different words for “love” depending on how it is used.
For example, the writers of the New Testament, the second part of our Bible, would have had three different Greek words at their disposal if they had wanted to write about the love husbands and wives have for each other, what we Aussies would call mateship and patriotism or love of country.
There was a fourth word, rarely used at the time, to describe the way God loves the world he has made and the people in it.
Those who wrote the second part of our Bibles were glad of that fourth word because they needed it.
They were familiar with those first three “loves” but like us, they knew how fickle they can be.
Think of those you know trapped in loveless relationships trying hard to maintain the façade of true love – think of mates who fall out and never speak to one another again – think even of the way we sometimes feel about our country!
Those first three “loves” just won’t do when it comes to describing our hope that God will love us in an entirely different way – and we need him to, because we know all too well just how unlovable we often are.
We all want to do better when it comes to loving others. We all want to be loved better by others. God meets both needs.
He loves us in ways that enable us to love others better because the truth is, love is a learned activity. The kind of love we offer others is always the kind of love we believe we have been shown.
This Easter, open your heart to God, the one who loves like no other. He declared his love for the whole world when his Son, Jesus, died on the cross.
That’s a big love, but it comes to us one by one – to you and to me.
And it is out there waiting for you right now.