Love is Interactive

Human beings are created in the image of God, a community of love. That means, in order to be truly human, we must be a community of love. Love cannot exist in isolation. We need someone to love, and someone needs to love us. Love requires a reciprocal relationship. When love is turned within toward the self, it is no longer love, because it cannot be reciprocated.

At that time, a lawyer came up to Jesus and asked him a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet’? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Matthew 22:35-46

The greatest commandment of God is love. We love God and He loves us. It is a reciprocal relationship. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to save us. He came to be the only true human being. He came to show us how to love. He did not love Himself. He loved others. His love was interactive.

God’s love reaches out across the political aisle to cooperate for the good of humanity. God’s love stops along the path to help a stranger in need. God’s love extends to those who suffer. If we are going to love as God loves, then our love must also be interactive. Consider Saint Paul’s advice to the Galatians.

Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.  Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.  Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 5:22-26;6:1-2

When we love, we want others to be saved in Christ. We don’t focus only our salvation, but the salvation of others. It can be awkward by today’s standards to reach out to help others in their sin. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend trying to correct strangers. There is enough work to be done among our family and friends, and even our Church family.

The Church is where we live out our love in Christ for others and God. The Church is where we hold each other up when we stumble. The Church is where we retore others “in a spirit of gentleness.” The Church is where our love is interactive for the sake of others’ sin.

Outside the Church, our love is expressed when we feed the hungry. Outside the Church, our love is expressed when we help the stranger on the side of the road. Outside the Church, our love is expressed when we treat all human beings with dignity, as the icons of God they are.

Our love has a role inside and outside the Church. Our love functions at different levels, but one thing is constant. Our love, in order to be real love, is interactive.

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