What is love, really?

God loves you./Google images.
God loves you./Google images.

(This is a distinctly evangelical post. Just letting you know.)

The name Maundy is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment.

Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, commanded: “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34.

Today is Maundy Thursday.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know that Maundy basically means “commandment”. And that makes sense as Jesus gives a new commandment on that Thursday.

I also have to perfectly honest in saying I don’t really know what “love one another” really means. Do you think that’s strange that I don’t know? I mean, doesn’t everyone know what love is?

Do you?

Does anyone?

We use the words “love” very indiscriminately. I just love pizza. Didn’t you just love that movie? I just love this or that person.

Love is not a noun. Love is a verb. Love has little to do with how I feel and everything to do with my actions.

When I read Scripture I don’t get the sense that Jesus did everything He did because He felt this warm mushy feeling we’ve come to associate with love. That kind of love would have quickly evaporated during His crucifixion.The kind of love Jesus is referring to and the kind He demonstrated on Good Friday is the kind that always does what is best for a person. It means putting aside our own agenda and feelings and doing the right thing for the people in our lives.

No, it’s not hypocritical do something for someone even if you don’t feel like it. That’s what love is. It’s easy to do things for people we love. It certainly doesn’t prove what love is. It’s when we do the right thing for people even when we don’t feel like it, that we are demonstrating the kind of love Jesus is talking about.

I’ll be honest one more time and say I sometimes don’t feel like doing the right thing. And sometimes I simply don’t. Sometimes I’m just too tired and need some “down” time. But then I’m right back at it. Not because I’m anyone special. Trust me, I’m not.

It’s because I’m finally grasping how God’s love sustains me. That no matter how much I might love, I’ll never come close to loving as I should. How do I know that? Because I’ll probably never be called on to give my life for anyone and if I were I’d probably fail the test.

So no matter how unloved you might feel tonight, how undeserving you feel of God’s love, remember what Maundy Thursday is all about. Jesus knew He what was about to go through. And yet He said, “Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.”

He said this knowing that He was going to die for something He didn’t do. For something He didn’t deserve. For someone He didn’t even know. For all the someone’s a thousand years down the road of history.

You are one of those “someone’s”. No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter what you are doing today, no matter what you do tomorrow, Jesus died so you could be free of your chains.

You don’t have to say any special words. You don’t have to clean up your act first. You don’t even have to clean it all up tomorrow. You only have to believe God exists and that He sent His son to die for you. After that, if you’re sincere, God will lead you and you’ll start to figure it all out.

God bless you.