01/02/2023 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
No Greater Love
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
“No Greater Love”
As I think about the immense meaning behind the title of this article, a mere one-page doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of its depth. We hear the word love tossed around in society so much I believe it is losing exactly what it is meant to say. We use it in early relationships to explain to one another our feelings, but is it a word we should use? I’m reminded of song by Tim McGraw in which he almost chastises society when he sings, “I love you ain’t no pick-up line.” Just with this one line, he shows how loosely we throw the word around. We interpret feelings and emotions with words in an attempt to convey what we are feeling within ourselves. But I argue this point: We cannot see emotions!
Many years ago, I conducted research to draw a simple path we take from our attitudes and ending at our behaviors. It starts with the source, our values and belief systems. We filter all the world’s behavioral data through these early systems. When we have enough data, we then develop a perspective about the data, or an attitude. Negative data produces a negative attitude and conversely a positive reflection of the data produces a positive attitude. Then this positive or negative attitude feeds into the production of an emotion, either positive or negative, such as drinking spoiled milk or smelling a rose. Then the emotion drives our reaction, or our behavior to the stimuli with either a positive or negative behavior. You see, attitudes don’t drive behaviors, emotions do. And while we can’t see emotions or attitudes, we can see behaviors which are the products of attitudes feeding emotions, and then the emotions feeding our behaviors.
There is an old phrase many of us have heard, “Actions speak louder than words.” This is so true. Soldiers in combat know this premise to be true. Heroic actions one soldier takes to save the lives of his or her fellow soldiers are done without words, just actions. This action is biblical, and we find it in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Many heartbroken men and women have openly wept at a memorial service for a fallen soldier, because there is no greater example of love displayed by a soldier than to give their live for another.
Jesus spoke the words we find in John 15:13. We can apply them to soldiers, but we also know He was speaking prophetically. Soon He would show His love for all mankind when He freely gave His life to take away the sins of all those who would believe in Him. Truly, there is no greater love that can be expressed which can surpass Jesus’ love for you and me.
The next time you say, “I love you” remember the words of Jesus. Are you willing to give your life for them? This is the greatest of loves and an example from which Jesus gave us to develop and attitude, an emotion, and a behavior to show the world His love!