Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

The older I get, the more I realize that love cannot be put in a box.  We like to put love in a box and create a lot of rules for it in our society.  Love your parents (no matter how they treat you).  Love your siblings (no matter how they act).  Love and get married to someone who is 1. the opposite gender, 2. your same skin color, and 3. from your socioeconomic background.  But love fights against man’s boxes.

We cannot put a formula on love.  Love is a gift from God.  It is more complex than our limited thinking or our man-made rules.

For instance, my love for my husband doesn’t make sense in the world’s terms.  We are about as different as can be.  When we met, he was a widower from the mid-west, and I was a divorcee from the East coast.  He is conservative, and I am liberal.  We have an eleven-year age difference.  Yet, he is my best friend.  I love him more than words can express.  Every day of my life is more wonderful because he is in it.

God gave us the capacity to love, so we hopefully could expand who we love.  I have friends, both male and female who I love.  I’ve had pets who I’ve loved.  My dog of 16 years died last summer.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him.  I loved him.

Becoming a mother taught me a love that I didn’t even know existed.  It is a love in which my daughter’s every joy is my joy, and her every sorrow is my sorrow.  It is a love that defies my basic human, selfish nature.

What I know now is that love can’t be contained in boxes.  Love doesn’t belong in a box that limits marriage solely to a union between a man and a woman.  Love doesn’t belong in a box in which people can only get married if they have the same skin color or practice the same religion.  It doesn’t belong in a box in which you can only love your biological children.  And it doesn’t belong in a box in which animals are simply here to serve us and not to be loved by us.

Unfortunately, some churches, including my own, continue to struggle with this issue.  It is sad and discouraging.  However, I continue to return to 1 John for solace.  Man does not define love.  God does, and what I know for sure is that He does not put love in a box.

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