Although love is one of the greatest commandments as indicated in the Bible, human beings are finding it difficult to love their fellow humans freely. According to the Catholic religious faith, love is expressed through liturgy. Even when God has promised a great reward for those who will obey the rules of love, human beings are still in dilemma. They believe that it is only God who can love human beings freely without conditions. Agape is the Christian love, which is underlined in the New Testament to mean affection, kindness, high esteem, and showing concern towards the welfare of others. Love is equated to patience, kindness, lack of envy, and hiding one’s pride (1 Cor. 13:4). Love does not delight when other people are suffering, but always persevere and gives hope in times of trouble. It is God’s command that people should love their neighbors, as a great reward is kept for those who would commit themselves to do so.
The word “love” is normally overused, as people refer to it when they want to demonstrate affection of anything, even without any deep feeling. However, the Bible utilizes the word to express how God feels about His people. Love is freely presented to human beings and they do not necessarily need rewards to conform to it. Love that is not freely awarded is not true love. God opted to honor man with a free will, which would assist him to experience true love that is found in His creation. Consequently, God can derive pleasure when He sees His people loving each other. The free will enables man to love God cheerfully, but man is known of breaching the free will that God has given him. Human beings find it hard to express their love to their enemies, unlike God, who provide for all humans, regardless of their relationship with Him (Matthew 5:44). Human beings are relatively weak to believe that they can adhere to God’s command without any restrictions.
From Paul’s perspective, the traits of love are similar to the traits of God. God is patient and kind to human beings. He does not envy when blessing man with resources and wisdom. God is not self-seeking, and does not attract pleasure from evil. In the beginning, God chose to create man, who bore His image, and this implies that God is not selfish, for He could have decided to create another creature that did not resemble Him. Loving His creation is one component of what God’s love is. Stubblefield accepted that God is love, and for this reason, the world was made. God always perseveres when human go against His will. God’s love that Paul was trying to demonstrate is so heart-flooding to be matching with only a transcendent Beloved. A divine love, which is unconditional and enduring, can never be compared to the earthly love. God’s love is not restricted by Him as human beings always do towards one another. Thus, it is quite hard for human beings to love unconditionally, even when they are assured of a reward.
Loving our neighbors is an essence of being, for no individual can live in isolation. Participating in liturgy enables Christians to fulfill the second commandment of love. Liturgy enables Christians to enhance their relationship with God and, consequently, strengthen their connection with each other. Love is the substance that hold people’s lives, as it drives their thoughts, feelings, as well as their communication. Love is what enables human beings to remain closer to each other, to assist one another, and to offer their services without necessarily asking for compensation. Apart from being a feeling, love drives people to act on behalf of those who are weak. The story of the Good Samaritan challenges Christians to become good neighbors through loving and caring for others. The core feature of love is demonstrating affection to others, as this implies how united individuals can be when they exercise love.
When the Bible commands individuals to love their neighbors as they love themselves, it implies that individuals may forget that love is the origin of their happiness. Individuals may not attain happiness if they hate each other. Although the command of love is quite radical, it assists individuals to move from their sins. The desire for individual happiness breeds sin and expose individuals to pride and selfishness. Pride makes individuals to think that they can gain happiness without God and that other people do not mean much to their lives. Whoever fails to love others does not recognize God. Individuals should understand that without God, they can never attain the happiness. Hence, when seeking happiness, individuals should remember that there are other people who are suffering from hunger, sickness, and loss of hope.
Agape love incorporates the gift that God’s spirit offers to Christians for charity. Agape love is one in an existential state that can only be defined as charity or strong commitment to something, such as salvation. God’s commitment to the salvation for all is a sign of agape love, which enables Christians to commit themselves to love each other because God has demonstrated his love to them. Certainly, it is quite hard to love somebody without knowing anything about him/her. By letting His son to be sacrificed for human sin, God demonstrated agape love, as a form of charity. No human being has the capacity to demonstrate such love, thus, human beings were undeserving recipients of God’s love (1 John 3:1).
Some Christians tend to believe that God does not necessarily have any connection with earthly creatures, yet they still rely on God to love them. There is no basis for having two conflicting opinions about God and love. Love has its origin from God, whose motive, desire, and considerations are born out of love. Thus, God’s connection to human beings is demonstrated through love. God has a reason as to why we should love our neighbors. Some people say that they already know that God loves them, as if they do not understand that God’s love for human beings assists them to live in union with God, so that human beings can enjoy peace and joy. However, it is not all the time that individuals claim to be peaceful or happy. This is because they take for granted that God’s love is always there, yet they do not struggle to know what God requires from them. In addition, religious love may not breed real love because it is built on culture and is bound to develop in sinister ways.
Real love is expressed when individuals agree to share their happiness with their neighbors and accepting them without considering their social class or origin. Letting other people have pleasure on things that they like is a show of love. Love is not a reciprocity approach, where one should expect returns for favor. Christians cannot gain reward for love if they only love those who love them. Individuals should not forget their neighbors because they represent God in sharing their love. God’s love is manifested when individuals show love and compassion to their neighbors by being close to them at all times. Neighbor’s love does not create threat to self-love because God’s love is also demonstrated through self-love. Self-love is attained when an individual is capable of providing basic needs.
The Bible explains clearly on matters concerning God’s opinion on sinners to prove God’s love. In Ezekiel 33:11, God does not gain pleasure when He sees sinners die, for He does not want His people to end up in eternal punishment. God’s love is also extended to sinners who He treats with tenderness and compassion that they deserve. God allowed His Son to die for the sinners so that they can realize their sinful nature and repent. No human being could have sacrificed his life for another human being’s sin; hence, God’s love surpasses all forms of love. Nothing should disconnect individuals from the love that God has given them. Even in the periods of tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine, danger, and vulnerability, people should not think of leaving God’s love (Rom. 8:35). It is God’s love that makes people to win life’s battle, for there is no power or dominion that can separate people from God’s love.
The love that God has on human beings made Him offer His only Son to die for them so that they should not perish, but live to enjoy eternal life (Jn. 3:16). However, Christians may fail to demonstrate love to other people because of harboring hatred to God, who they believe is incapable of protecting them from evil deeds. It is not surprising to say that some Christians may harbor distorted and vicious view about God because the devil has managed to convince them that God does not love all times. The devil does not want Christians to receive God’s reward for obedience. He knows that humans’ hearts are quite weak, particularly when discouraged; hence, can be manipulated by instilling hate.
In conclusion, God’s love to humans is special and unconditional, and that is why humans cannot attain such love. God’s command to love our neighbors does not necessarily amount to a reward from Him, but assist us to lead a happy life with one another. Every human being would like to be happy and have somebody who cares and show love. However, human beings are usually driven by self-interests and jealous in their actions. It is God’s love that manifest in human beings that makes them love others. The study of love does not require further research, as the Bible offers all the answers that an individual wish to have. Loving others can be equated to sharing God’s word with other people. Christians should not let the devil deceive them, as God has the power to make them love their neighbors and to receive His reward.
Cuneo, Terence. “Love and Liturgy.” Journal Of Religious Ethics 43, no. 4 (December 2015): 587-605. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2016).
Hefling, Charles. “How wide is God’s mercy? (Cover story).” Christian Century 132, no. 23 (November 11, 2015): 22-27. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2016).
Stubblefield, Jean Anne. God’s Love for Us Our Christian Foundation. Bloomington, IN: West Bow Pr, 2013.
 Jean Anne Stubblefield, God’s Love for Us Our Christian Foundation. (Bloomington, IN: West Bow Pr, 2013), 9.
 Charles Hefling, “How wide is God’s mercy? (Cover story).” Christian Century 132, no. 23 (November 11, 2015): 23. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2016).
 Terence Cuneo, “Love and Liturgy.” Journal of Religious Ethics 43, no. 4 (December 2015): 587. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2016).
 Ibid., 591.
 Charles Hefling, “How wide is God’s mercy? (Cover story).” Christian Century 132, no. 23 (November 11, 2015): 24. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2016).
 Ibid., 25.
 Cuneo, “Love and Liturgy,” 590.
 Stubblefield, God’s Love for Us Our Christian Foundation, 12.