I felt like I rammed face first into a concrete wall when someone asked me this question. I had never been asked that before. Why do you love me? I had never even thought of it. I have always said that I loved God because He first loved me, because that’s what the Bible says. I never even thought about asking this before, I figured if someone said or acted like they loved me, that’s just what they meant. No need to explain. I wasn’t even sure I knew what love was after I was asked this.
I looked the word up in the dictionary, prayed about it, pondered over the question… It was like a reality check that was written for thousands of dollars. Was I going to cash this in and learn from this valuable question, or lay it aside and pretend the situation never happened? I knew I couldn’t let it go.
As I prayed about it things started to click. My definition of love was all screwed up. If I asked you why you like dessert, what would you say? How about your morning coffee? Or your hobby? So, why do you love the people in your life that you do?
I grew up thinking love is an action and a choice, and it is, but why do you love? Most everybody has something or someone that they love. I started asking myself, why does God love me? Certainly there is nothing that a holy God could have a reason to love me. I’ve asked God this question multiple times, but this time, I needed an answer. Did He really just love me because He is love, or does He actually find delight in me?
I’m not one that gets into Greek and Hebrew words but I’ve read that there are two different types of love, Phileo and Agape. The love that a mother or father has for their child is different than the love they have for one another. The love you have towards your friend is different than the love you have towards your fiancé. The love you have for your morning coffee or quiet time after a hard day at work is different than the love you have for a person.
First the Choice, and then the Reason
First we must make a decision to love someone or something. Then we can find out what the reason is. Do you know what the difference is between liking and loving something? When we are pleased with something at a moderate level you say you like it. But if that level goes up to a higher position we may begin realizing we love it. But why did the needle move up a notch? What caused it to gain elevation?
I used to say I like coffee, but after drinking it for about a year, I realized I loved coffee. I now jump up from my chair to get it if it is offered to me, whereas before I would only respond with a simple yes. What happened? I started having reasons behind why I liked coffee. Its bittersweet taste woke me up in the morning. Rising hours before daylight it can be quite difficult to stay awake. I love waking up and heading to the kitchen to hear the sound of the water running through the coffee machine – in clear and out black. Its warmth creates a cozy feeling inside and being able to hold that mug in my hand brings me a strange comfort. It keeps me awake at friends’ houses after being up for hours and then gives me that extra boost for my early morning run. It helps me think clearly during computer hours and keeps me emotionally stable throughout the day. Before, I could have said nothing much about it; I liked it because it woke me up, plain and simple.
When a baby is born, loving parents decide to love their baby. Then, and only then, can they say why. It’s my child. God gave him to me. He smiles so warmly at me. He’s so innocent. He looks just like his dad. He makes the cutest faces. He looks so peaceful when he sleeps.
Because God is love, He chose to love us, by sending His only Son to die for us, so that He could have a relationship with us. He sacrificed what He loved so dearly so He could love us unconditionally. Through His Son He sees us as His child. And because of His Son, He finds delight in us. He cares for us. He encourages us in our dreams. He gives us our desires. He pursues us and gives us what is best for us. He wants to know us intimately.
We Have to Accept
When a guy asks a girl to marry him, she has to say yes in order for them to get married. If he truly loves her, he will not force his love on her. He may pursue her and try to win her love, but if he truly loves her, he will let go because she does not want him. He will want her to be happy. He will want to grant her requests.
Jesus did not force His love on us. He does not make us love Him. A child will not truly love his parents if they force him to. They will only act like they do to keep the peace. If someone gives someone a gift to show their love, the receiver can either reject the love or accept it. We can want to accept it, but we have to actually make the choice to do so.
Sometimes people’s hearts are so locked up from the pain of their past that they cannot give or receive love. Jesus is the only one who can break that barrier and make them feel loved in ways they never thought possible. God longs to have his love accepted. He is not willing that any should perish, He wants all of us to accept His love, to accept His gift. Because He is a holy God and no sin can be in His presence, He has to see us through His Son. It’s as if sin is the color blue and Jesus is one of those fancy cameras they use to make movies that cannot see the color blue. If we have accepted Jesus, when God looks through that camera (Jesus), He sees no sin. Therefore, because of Jesus, we are perfect in His sight!
Flattery is Not the Answer
The definition of flattery is false praise – praising someone in order to gain something yourself. Telling someone they are beautiful or handsome is not true praise; they cannot control how they look. Saying, “Your desserts are amazing,” hoping that maybe they will make you some cookies because of that, is not truly praising them for how good they cook. Telling them, “I love you,” right before asking a favor, is also not true love.
Instead of saying you love his smile, maybe consider looking deeper into his heart to thank him for the reason behind his smile. Instead of saying you love how she keeps house, consider thanking her for her diligence. Giving examples may help, but try to look for the character quality or virtues behind the actions. That is what true praise is.
So, Why Do You Love Me?
I believe that when someone is asking this question, what they really want to know is, do you love them for who they are or for what they do? With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, ponder this question, “Lord, why do you love me?” As He reveals His answer to you, you will realize why you love others and on what level your love is based. Because God is love, the more of Him you have, the more love you can give to others.
As you think about that special someone in your life, or special “someones” (i.e. family and friends), take time to stop and think why you love this person(s). Ask God why you love them. Think about what you would want someone else to say if you asked them this question. We are commanded to love others even if they hate us. What if your enemy came to you and asked this very question? Love can always see the good in a person, and true love also overlooks the bad.
Happy Valentine’s Day and May God Bless You!!