Studies have shown that human beings have an inherent need to be loved and nurtured. Attachment theory suggests that children are born into this world pre-programmed to seek out attachment. Babies who are deprived of touch, particularly in the first 6 months grow up to be psychologically damaged. Long term deprivation of love, attention and care can consequently lead to delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression or affectionless psychopathy. Without love, something inside us breaks.
The very nature of God is love. The bible does not shy away from reminding us of God’s everlasting, steadfast, quieting, poignant love.
Jeremiah 31:3 says “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Romans 5:8 “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
Popular content and culture subliminally trains people to chase love, to feel devastated by rejection, to feel happy and fulfilled only by gaining attention. Generations live in pursuit of likes and emoticons. But the power of loving first, of enduring for another, of building true bonds is forgotten. But the bible strongly calls us not just to receive love but also, to love one another.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12.
Interestingly, psychology also supports this. As much as we are born in inherent need for love and nurture, we also have a need to bestow love and care on others. Research shows that expressing love or benevolence for others benefits not just the recipient of affection, but also the person who conveys it. Loving others, acts of generosity & kindness, showing empathy & compassion are all equally important in experiencing happiness, as is being the object of love. Psychology basically says, if you want to be happy, first you need to be loved and second you need to love others.
The love of God is demonstrated on the cross for all to know. No matter what your experience with love has been in this world, there is a God who sees you, loves you and seeks you. He intends to bless you and prosper you. But the word of God doesn’t stop there. The bible then calls us forth as vessels that carry this divine, unblemished, sacrificial love to pour out into this world. More and more people suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. Many around us are in unimaginable, hidden pain. The need of the hour are people who are willing to pay attention, to pay the price and to offer love which is the antidote to the poison of the enemy that has infected mankind.
Then, let us love as we have been loved. Let us treat our fellow believers, our neighbours, our partners, our minsters with compassion and understanding. Let us treat ourselves as precious to God, created for the purposes of God. Let us love enough to yield to one another, to carry one another and to bear one another.
Love is the gift and the commandment. Let our hearts be full of love and not offense or selfishness. We cannot put on the likeness of Christ unless we put away the childishness. Let us do all things in love as we grow in the image of Christ. No matter what we face, no matter what circumstance or trial, no matter the current political climate, the bible assures us that we can fulfill every need in us through Christ. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us- Romans 8:37.