There are a lot of individuals who will argue that God does not, has not, and will never exist. In contrast, there are almost no people that will advocate that same breed of opinion towards what all humankind commonly identifies as love. Love is a strange thing; we will never be able to feel the full depth of its influences, yet we will always intercept the surface of its intentions. Its definition can’t be held within the limits of words alone, we just feel it and know it’s all around us.
To this day, my mom presses me urgently to hear me say that I love her, but every time this happens, I ultimately refuse. In any case, love is reciprocal, and it’s reciprocal without fail. It is utterly impossible to convince myself that I don’t love my mother because the undeniable truth is, I do because she loves me back.
We love our friends, we love our family, we love those who reflect love back to us. Love drives us, it fuels motivation, it summons persistence, it gives rise to toleration: the very qualities of the enduring human spirit. Could history have progressed the way it did without such love?
Love persists in a worldly sense, but to the pious kind, there is yet another type of love: the love between the divine and the mortal. But sometimes there is a common misconception about this love, and it’s the fact that it’s not really love at all.
I was browsing through facebook one day when I stumbled upon one of my friends’ profiles. I came to notice that her religious status read “relationship not religion.” I asked her what she meant by that, and she simply stated that she has a “relationship” with God as she does with other people. It convicted me right then and there to wonder whether or not God was a loving and caring God, or if he was just a God we were obliged to bow down and worship without question, our lives dependant upon the disposal of his mercy.
Love cannot be forced. It must stem from the love at the other end and continually grow, nourished by a reciprocal relationship. Relationships with God (or any other deity) should have at least minimal resemblance with our relationships with other human beings.
In summary, the world cannot function without love. Communism failed because people couldn’t discover love for the things they were obligated to do. The Revolutionary War was won because the British couldn’t love anything enough to be motivated to fight with total will. Love is a relationship, not a mandate.
But in all, love is the purpose of life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.