That brings us then to the question: what is love?
Maybe I ought to define love. I mean both non-romantic love and romantic love. The how we are to relate to one another, irregardless of our attraction or lack of attraction for different people.
So, love. What is it? At it's core, all types of love are the same. Very simply put, love is keeping the Law of God towards each other. Your sister isn't feeling well...you love her by unselfishly (uncomplainingly) picking up her tasks. You think you are "in love" with a particular guy...so, you love him by not tempting him...by seeking his best interest.
Those are very generic examples, but how do those two examples keep the Law toward one another?
The first one could fall under the category of the 5th Commandment: "Honor thy father and mother..." The Westminster Larger Catechism points out that, "The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honour to go one before another; and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own."
So by picking up someone's slack, we are giving honour one before another...
The second one can also fall under the 5th Commandment, but also the 7th: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." WLC #138: "The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto."
So love...it's not a squishy feeling. It's our job or duty--our daily calling one to another, to serve one another even when we do not feel like it. Does it come with the glowing feelings? Sure...but love isn't based on the warm feelings. Those are transient. Do I always feel fuzzy about my family members? In all out, flat honesty--no. Am I to always love them? Yes.
So love, no matter what type of love it is--familial, friendly, that to the stranger you run into in the grocery, or toward "that guy" you like--true and faithful love is based ONLY in the love and law of God Himself. We cannot rightly love unless we realize that love is obedience to the law of our Sovereign God. It's that simple.
Are you struggling with loving people--whether not as well as you should or by an attraction to someone? The answer, simple, though at times hard to implement, is asking oneself, "How am I keeping the commandments to/for/about this person/situation?"
We fail. I fail DAILY. But God grants forgiveness and a desire to live more and more after His image.
That's the funny thing about true Christianity. It's not complicated. It's really quite simple and straight-forward. Easy it is not. No one ever said, "Simple is easy", or if they did, they were thinking only of things like jig-saw puzzles. Straight lines are simple, but very difficult for me to draw--even with a ruler. God's Law is rather like our ruler...my sins and failings (anti-love of God and my fellow man) are like the wiggles in my line--the bumps where my clumsy fingers protrude over the ruler and interrupt the line.
What is love? Keeping the Ten Commandments. May I remember this and implement this in my own life in this upcoming year....