I was reading a book the other day which noted that the way we use metaphors to describe something has a huge effect on how we perceive it. For example, the terminology surrounding ‘cancer’ all relates to war. People ‘battle’ cancer; they ‘fight’ cancer; they ‘don’t give up’; and they ‘beat’ cancer or ‘lose their brave fight’. Whether this is helpful is certainly debatable.
The book then went on to ask what metaphors we use to describe love. It drew out that we use economic metaphors. We ‘value’ people; they are ‘worth it’; we ‘treasure’ people. This terminology implies that we ‘give’ our love to people who ‘deserve’ it – who can ‘reciprocate’. This also gives the impression that we only have a finite amount of love – because we need to ‘spend’ it on those who we deem ‘valuable’. We don’t want to ‘waste’ our love. It’s…’rational’.
But is this how love is meant to be? To be only showered on someone when reciprocated? It doesn’t seem that this is what Jesus meant when he was telling us the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan did not save his love for someone who he thought would be worth it or who could pay him back. He was not worried about the cost to himself. He only thought about what he had to do.
Jesus also loves us this much. He does not care what we can and can’t do. Let’s be real, it’s not like we can do anything on our own, so we’d be very lost if Jesus loved in economic terms – if we could give him something in return for His love. He loves us because of who He is.
So if Jesus doesn’t love in a ‘rational’ way, how does he love? What’s terms do we use to describe Jesus’ love?
He radiates love. His love brightens our lives (and obviously so much more). He loves away the shadows. His love brings light into the dark. His love shines on everyone, regardless of their ability to reciprocate. His nature is love – it’s an all-consuming, burning ball of fire.
Was that a bit on the nose? I think the metaphor for Jesus’ love is the sun.
Can we put this into our lives? Can we start to shine on others – regardless of how they treat us? Can we brighten others’ day, even if they won’t appreciate it? Even if they are ice-cold to you, can you try and be warm towards them?
We love because He first loved us. We love because of who we are – because we know how much we are loved. We don’t have to love others only because of what they’re worth to us. We can shower love on others irrespective of their own nature.
We must learn to love like Jesus. Jesus loves like the sun shines. We must learn to love like the sun shines.
D Miller, ‘Blue Like Jazz’.
1 John 4:19