Finding True Love - What one woman wished she knew, and everyone needs to know
Her heart raced as he whispers how much he loves her. Oh, how she longed to hear those words. She thought of the good times they would have, the family, the children, the beautiful home that they would create together. For a brief moment the reality that he is married crossed her mind but she quickly reminded herself that it is she whom he loves, not the other woman (isn't that what he just said?).
As they enjoyed the evening she felt that she had finally found the love she's always wanted. He knew all the right words to say. She looks searchingly into his eyes. His eyes said as much as his hands were saying: "I love you". That's all she wanted to know. The nagging feeling that what they were doing wasn't right made what was supposed to be an enjoyable moment but another empty giving of herself. She blamed herself for not enjoying the moment as he did. Isn't this the love she had longed for? Why then does it not bring the joy that it promised?
Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door, followed by a heavy thud and loud angry voices. A large group of men broke the door open and advanced straight towards the bedroom. She grabbed her sheet and tried to cover herself even as strong hands laid hold of her. The very skin of her face felt as if it was being torn off as the men pulled her hair, while her arm felt out of place due to the aggressive push and pull by her antagonists. She screamed because of the pain but the men only tightened their grip, while calling her names too nasty to write.
As they dragged her out of the house and into the street, she called for her lover to save her, but he had disappeared into the large crowd that had gathered to see what is going on. The men dragged her through the street all the way to the temple. More people join the crowed by the minute, asking "what did she do". Excited spectators competed to relay their versions of the event.
Finally they were at the temple. Not so long ago she had been in this very spot, listening to the one who was even now teaching. She had felt such joy listening to him. He was not like any of the other men she had known, who took advantage of the vulnerable. There was an holiness and authority about him that no one else had. This only added to her sense of shame and fear.
The religious leaders arrayed her before the teacher, and in infuriated, yet haughty tones detailed her sin and demanded that she be stoned. The crowed that has now filled the temple to capacity waited silently to see what would happen next. Not that they cared about the outcome, but this was the biggest drama of recent times, and they wouldn't miss a moment.
Scared, bruised, embarrassed, and afraid, the woman awaited her verdict. All she sought was love. How did love get her to this point? The guy said he loved her...why did he not seek to save her from her adversaries? She wept as she thought of how stupid she had been to give her heart so carelessly. She wished they would go ahead and get it over with. She sank even lower as the sense of her guilt overcame her. Death, even by stoning, would be welcomed.Now early in the morning He [Jesus] came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:2-11
Everyone who reads this story has probably wondered what occurred before the scene at the temple. Here I've taken the liberty to fill in what the unwritten details might have been like from the woman's perspective.
Not everyone is loving. Not everyone is easy to love. But I can say with absolute certainty that everyone desires to be loved. And most people do find love (ask the many broken hearted men and women that you meet every day). The problem is that the love they seek, and the love they find, results in the opposite of what love is supposed to do.
As you are probably aware there are several different words used for love in ancient Greek language:
Philia: "brotherly love", Is the caring affection we have for family, and community - also used for a desire or enjoyment of an activity.
Storge: "love, affection" especially of parents and children
Éros: "sexual passion." It's from this that we get the English word erotic
The first three are grounded not in the benefit of others but more so a desire for personal pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment. It's common to both believers and unbelievers alike.
In a painting by Karl Friedrich Lessing, a German painter, we see the picture of a Father tenderly holding his arm around his son. The caption of the painting is "The Robber and His Child". Even robbers (who come to kill and steal) love their own. In fact, that's exactly the point which Christ makes in John 15: 18,19If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own
For sure, the world possess philia and storge, the deep affection for near kin and and those they rely on for support and success
But eros rules! Modern entertainment (and the ads that accompany them) exalts this type of love. As a result most people have come to associate love primarily with sex.
Most times than not, rather than being something that builds others and adds value, worldly love degrades and reduce people to objects of pleasure, and self gratification. The story related in John 8 is a good example of how worldly love degrades and ruins. Worldly love is all about taking: your time, your purity, your self-worth.
Let's take a another look at the story above in light of the different types of love that we just identified. We'll identify each of the players and see what type of love they were seeking or had to offer.
The woman. She wanted to be loved - gorge, philia, eros.
The man. He thought she was gorgeous. He wanted to make love - eros, philia. For him the woman was an object from which he could derive pleasure. This is the perspective of 99% of guys that you'll meet. Am I right guys? Women, take it from a man. It takes time - maybe even a few years - before most guys (even churchgoers) begin to see beyond your shape. Give him, and yourself, time to see more of you - your character and personality - before giving your heart. It's worth also considering what you believe makes you most desirable. If you think looks is everything, chances are those you attract will think so too.
The religious leaders. They wanted the affection of the masses, which Yeshua was now pulling unto Himself - philia. They saw the woman as a tool, by which they could trap Yashua. They couldn't care less about her, except as for as she can help to accomplish there evil ends.
The curious onlookers: They were there for the entertainment - philia. Very little can be more uncomfortable than being among a group of people who either doesn't notice you or see you as an inconvenience, or simply "for their convenience".
Christ: He had a different type of love; one not mentioned above. One not common among the populous: Agápe: "charity; the love of God for man and of man for God." It's the love that seeks the good of others without consideration of benefit to self, and even to his own hurt.
While the world offers a type of love that leaves the recipient dry and empty; searching for a sense of hope, worth, meaning, and purpose, God's love restores all that. God's love adds value.
It seems like about time that we seek to define the word "love". There are many characteristics that we could use to explain what love is (and we will look at some of them), but the most important thing we need to know about love is that it is a divine attribute. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. I don't think this is an attempt by the Bible writer to define God, but rather to show that love is the principal attribute of God, and can only be manifested to the degree that we experience the presence of God in our lives. It can never be found in the lives of the unsaved.
Now I can almost hear you protesting that last statement. We all know people who are not Godly, but do kind things and make great sacrifice for others. The Bible in 1 Cor 13 even pictures some such people, who make great sacrifice for others, but have not this divine attribute called love.
How do we get this love? A study of 2 Peter 1:2-4 sheds light on this. It points out all the things we gain as we grow in our knowledge of Christ. Among them is His divine nature:Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
As we come to know God better we become more like HIm in nature. Notice what 1 John 4:8 says: "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love", which is to say he that loves (as God loves), knows God, for true love comes only from him. The way to have that divine attribute of God is to know God.
There is one more thing before you go, a final look at 1 John 4:8: "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love"
God is Love
The phrase "God is love" is a small interjection into a passage that's dealing primarily with the believers' need to love one another (John 4:7-21). As a matter of fact the statement comes on the heels of a negative statement, "he that does not love does not know God".
The implication is clear - once you come to know God you will also become a believer who loves. Not only that, but God multiplies His love through us:Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world (John 4:17).
As God is, "so are we in this world". God's love transforms us, and we become God's love to the world.
The world degrades and diminishes our worth, often under the guise of love. The love that comes from God restores and adds value. Which love are you seeking today?
Here is something I'd like you to do right now: Get a peace of paper, and your Bible, and write down the specific attributes of divine love listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Please do this activity, especially if you are single looking for a partner.
As we close this study there is one very important question I'd like to ask: have you experienced true love, that is, the love of Christ in your own heart?
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12,13).