Love is God
You have heard it said…”God is Love”. If this is an equal equation, what would happen if we turned it around and said Love is God. Now both Love and God are pretty hard to define but for some people, the label of ‘God’ has become mixed up with a lot of personal and social history, mixed with religious overtones and rules that they’ve rejected, and mixed up with concepts of a God that they just can’t live with. So when we start the sentence with ‘God’, we’re already off on the wrong foot.
On the other hand, while it may be difficult for us to come up with an empirical definition for “Love” most of us have some concept of love that is positive and have had some experience where love has been a positive influence in their lives. Words that may be associated with love could include compassion, grace, forgiveness, selflessness, empathy, sacrifice and time. So maybe we can start with “Love”.
For example, I may be tempted to judge a situation or someone’s choices by whether I think God would approve of it, usually based on some rule that I attribute to God. But if I start with Love, I might judge it based on whether there is love involved. Is it a choice that exhibits love for that person or for others? What I may find is that I don’t actually have the requisite knowledge about the situation or the people involved to be able to judge! Or while I’m uncertain about the situation as a whole, I can see where love has entered into that situation and can affirm that love.
One of the big questions that people struggle with about God concerns God’s involvement in our lives particularly when ‘bad things happen to good people.’ If God is love and an accident claims the life of someone we love, we may ask “If God is so loving, where was God when this happened?”
We do live in a world where bad things happen. If we’re looking for a God who will save us from all pain in life, I’m afraid we will be sadly disappointed. But if our question starts with love we may begin to see a different picture. Where was Love when this happened? Where did we see compassion extended to those involved, where did we see caring hands reach out to the broken, where did we see people going out of their way to provide for those in grief? Often when tragedy strikes, along with the tales of horror, there will be the side-bar stories of those who stepped in, those who selflessly risked their own lives on behalf of others. There is a lot of love to be found.
So now instead of asking ‘where is God’ I will be asking ‘where is Love’ and in those places where love is seen, experienced, extended – there, I believe, is God.