No explanation of Christianity is complete if it fails to place love at the center.
God longs for us to become like him–a great lover.
Christ teaches us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and our neighbor as we love ourselves.
The order is important here. We are not to love others out of duty or obligation, but because we’ve fallen head over heels in love with God.
We come to love God by knowing him. Not a knowing about him as in head knowledge. But knowing him through experience–a heart-knowing.
Genuine love for God naturally radiates into neighbor love.
The connection between loving God and loving others could not be any stronger.
As I write these words, I’m painfully aware of how far short I live up to this ideal. I recall an emotional conversation I had with my wife this morning. We discussed a situation at the clinic when I felt devalued and disrespected. It was anything but lovely.
Oh, how I wish that God would have chosen something other than love as the gold standard of spiritual growth. It’s so discouraging when I see how anemic my love for God and others is in ordinary life.
My response, especially in these moments, is not to try harder, study more, or be more disciplined but to allow myself be loved by God.
Do you love people?
Those who feel called to the work of healing and restoration–love other people.
There is no substitute for loving people.
If you only love anatomy & physiology, solving problems, or helping people then healing is not your calling.
It is tragic when healthcare professionals have tremendous influence over peoples’ bodies and quality of life yet lack genuine love for them.
This does not mean that we will automatically love every person we encounter. I have difficult patients too, and I’m sure some people feel the same about me.
The love we offer to others is God’s love for them. Like Mother Theresa, we desire to see in their faces the face of Christ.
Such a relationship is always a gift to be received, not merely something we attain.
Let us count it a privilege to become great lovers in service to others with the gifts we have received.