I love our church. So does my pastor. A while ago he posted 34 things he loves about our church.
One Sunday night, when the weather was nice and the service had been over for more than an hour, and people were still hanging around talking to each other outside (because those of us responsible for locking the building had kicked them out), I began to wonder to myself if a church could ever get to a place where her people love each other too much.
I suppose in one sense, that could happen. If our love for each other ever superseded our love for Christ himself, or if our delight was in people, rather than in the God whose image is displayed in those people.
But when I thought about it more, the silliness of such a thought became apparent rather quickly. One can never love another person too much. No one could ever love more than Christ has loved (since this is how we know what love is) and clearly, Christ did not love too much.
But that got me to thinking that I needed a clearer definition of love. You see, when we think of love for another, we think of something which could supersede our delight in Christ, or something which could be taken too far, so that it is not in the other person's best interest. But really, at that point, it's not love at all... it's selfish delight in another person for the gratification of my own fleshly desires for entertainment or companionship or a sense of belonging or whatever else.
So here's the working definition of love that I came up with to help me evaluate whether I'm really loving someone, or whether I'm just having nice thoughts about them for my own benefit.
that affection or passion which motivates me to pursue another's ultimate good, regardless of the cost to myself.
Feel free to comment on that, if you like. I'm hoping to elaborate on that some more in the days to come.