"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." -- 1 John 4:7-12, NIV 2011
Years ago, guitarist Mick Jones of the band Foreigner penned a song that began as a ode to failed relationships, but ultimately ended up resonating with so many hearts calling out to the deepest longing of people. The chorus is simple enough:
"I want to know what love is, I want you to show me,
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me."
It's a song that has been covered by several different bands from differing genres to varying acclaim. In the end, the heart of the song speaks to hearts of people. We long to be loved. We long to find in ourselves the worthiness of being loved, and if we're honest, we long to feel that we have the capacity to love.
But this all begs the question: What is love? (Not trying to borrow from 90's Eurodance artist, Haddaway. But if the shoe fits.)
Love most definitely demands a definition that suits the truth of it, but where does that knowledge come from?
Some might argue that love happens when the stars align and the world is just right. Others might say that love results from complex neurons firing as responses to chemicals released in the body following an interaction with someone you find attractive; that sounds like a hallmark card in the making.
Still, others would say that it does no good trying to define love. It is as elusive as that song you heard when you were a child when you felt the world was completely right. No matter the person, love is defined differently by many.
The Bible says that love -- the type of love that fills the deepest recesses in our lives -- is defined not simply as a feeling but as a person. The Bible says that God is Love. It says that the longing that we all have can only be met and resolved in the work of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Bible speaks to the need of love as a common experience for all of humanity and that the love expressed to one another is not a random piecing together of emotions and senses that surfaces only on rare occasions, but instead is the direct outflow of one very specific event in history.
According to the Bible, we will only know what love is by first letting the God of creation love us. We might catch glimpses of it in different places or expressed by others who have come into contact with it because of the universal need we all have of it.
We might be able to experience something close to it in our personal relationship with people, but without connection to Jesus, we only see it in shadows. However, it is a common thread for all of us. We long for it, and God has said, "I hear you and I can show you what it is."