By Lisa Nordell-Detres
One of the most profound things I learned in my Lutheran High School Bible class was the direct correlation between God’s love and our freedom. In love, there has to be the freedom not to love; otherwise the love is not real, but is forced like rape or slavery. There is no love in either of those things. God had to give us the choice to love and obey Him in order for this loving relationship to work. Anything else would have been divine puppetry. I am so very glad that we do have the capacity for love, even if it means that we often make poor choices that lead to sorrow and chaos.
The Bible mentions love between 300-600 times, depending on the translation. In contrast, the word “hate” is used fewer than 100 times. There are some great passages that talk about love. The most well-known are I Corinthians 13, which shows how empty our efforts are without love and I John 4:7-21, which clarifies that God is Love; He loved us first and therefore, we need to love Him and love each other. As a matter of fact, verse 8 says that “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Without God, it is not possible to really know love. Wow, that is harsh! Obviously, there is a placebo for love that is widely proliferated in our world, and that is extramarital sex. The farther people fall from God’s love, the more men and women will strive to fill their empty souls with extramarital sex, pornography and other addictions.
The good news is that if you are still alive, you still have the choice to love God and know what real love is all about. He loves you already and is just waiting for you to turn to Him and start learning all about perfect love!