Love is a one-way street. I know this is not a popular saying and, in fact, quite contrary to what one might say. I have heard it said that Love takes give and take. However, with God as my basis of what Love is, I have come to the conclusion that Love is a one-way street of selfless giving. But more than that, true love can happen in the face of hatred and rejection.
How do we know that God loves us? It is summed up quickly and easily in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” But what did God really give up, you might ask? I suspect it’s far more than we can ever know, but here’s a glimpse. A part of God (the son), in obedience to another part of God (the father), agreed to put aside God-hood and become born into flesh as a defenseless baby that needed to be cared for by the very same creation (man) that He Himself created. He grew up as a child, became a man, and got a job like the rest of us. But still being God, He could not sin, but instead continued to do the will of God the Father. He taught in the places He was to teach and He did miracles to show who He was so there could be no doubt as to His identity. Then, when He could have remained on Earth and condemned us all for our unbelief and sin, he allowed Himself to have the fury of God and the separation from God that we deserve unleashed upon Him on the cross. In this way, the penalty for all of our sins could be paid and we could have eternal life with God.
But what do we give in return? How can we possibly repay such a gift. The simple truth of the matter is that we can’t, and few of us even try. Forgiveness can’t be earned, it can only be received. There aren’t enough “I’m sorry”’s to cover the sin in our hearts and minds that we try to hide from each other. But when we sin in secret we still sin against God and that was why Christ had to pay for our sins even though He lived the sinless life required of us by God’s law.
So if this is God’s love for us, then how should our Love for each other look? How can we take an insult or injustice without offering the same forgiveness we have been shown? Are we to say “Ah! But I am truly repentant and the person who has wronged me isn’t.”? That is hypocrisy. How many times have we sinned against God in our hearts and not truly been repentant. How many times have we made excuses for our own behavior and tried to justify ourselves while we condemn others for the same thing?
Loving another person can not depend on how that person acts or what that person does. Love is a gift from you to those around you. You either have love to give or you don’t. Those who don’t have love exchange favors and call it love. This is where this two-way street concept comes from. Give and take is a transaction, not a gift of love. True love can only be given freely as a gift.
But where can a flawed, greedy, selfish human get this love in order to have it to give in the first place? There is only one place, of course, God the Spirit. The Spirit dwells in all who have given their lives to Christ, accept who He is (God the Son), and ask to receive Him into them. God is the only source of love because God is Love. If God is not in you then neither is love. Without God a person can only show a shadow of what love is. Giving small non-sacrifices to people they already like or for acknowledgement from others about how good they are.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 This is God’s love, not man’s false love. If it is not in you then pray to Christ Jesus and give your life to Him. Ask for his Spirit to dwell in you and then begin to earnestly seek the Word of God.