A couple years ago one of my youth group kids made the statement “God is not love, LOVE is God”. At the time I’d never heard that before, and while I instinctually didn’t agree, I hadn’t thought much about why up until then.
I came across a meme on Facebook the other day that said the same thing, and so now thoughts are flowing. Careful, they’re a bit mind-bending. Feel free to respond, please.
I have an issue when we say Love is God, because that statement makes it sound like the only characteristic God has is love; also there is the implication that Love is the end all. And while most Western Christian culture seems to agree with this statement, I think we’ve missed the mark.
God isn’t JUST love; we modern, Western Christians have a huge problem with forgetting this. “Well, if God is love, why is this happening, why is that happening? Why is there pain and hardship, etc etc etc? A loving God wouldn’t do that.” We forget that God is just and righteous, Creator and Ender (or “Changer of seasons and chapters” might be the more accurate title). To say He is only love sells who He is short. And while yes, all of His other characteristics are affected by His love, this does not necessarily change those characteristics into love. To say He is ONLY love takes away a good deal of His incomprehensible God-ness; it takes away quite a lot of His majesty and power. Not that love isn’t powerful, we all know it is. But it’s a different sort of power than God occasionally displays.
Also, to say Love is God, changes worship. If love is God, than worship is merely loving others – whether in a friendly way, in a family way, in a romantic way, in a taking-care-of-you way. If love is God, than all we have to do to be right with God is to love others. And yes, a great deal of Christian worshipping God should be loving others. Many people who are not Christian do a pretty good job of this. (I’m not going to get into whether or not people who are not recognized by the church as Christian are going to heaven; someday I might)
But loving others is not our only act of worship and is not all we are called to do. Christians are to actually love God. We can’t love God if Love is God. That would be loving love…which yes, people do. But rarely are those people happy or well-balanced people. These are usually the desperate and red-and-wild-eyed people in your life who tend to be hard to be around. They leave you emotionally empty when you’re done hanging out.
But let’s get back, briefly, to how Love being God changes worship. There is no reason to live to bring God glory, and the biggest purpose in life you have outside of yourself is to love other people. Which, again, don’t get me wrong, is a HUGE purpose (it’s in the Bible over and over)…but if your purpose in life is to merely love other people and not love and serve God, nor is it take a part of the story He is writing, your life has so much less meaning than a Christian’s should.
Love is not God; Love is the means to show others all of the intricate facets of just exactly who God is.