Loving vs being in love
There is always a temptation to confuse these two ideas.
“I love you” = “I am in love with you.” It makes “I love you, man!” between two guys to be often an uncomfortable statement, usually delivered either quietly (as between two brothers) or over-the-top (I usually hear it done loudly with an affected surfer-accent).
“We need to love Jesus” = “We need to be in love with Jesus” = bride/groom analogy = most/all the men in church uncomfortable.
“We need to love Muslims” (or Hindus or Buddhists or whatever) or “We need to love immigrants” = a bit of a shift. Obviously, in this case, our mind tells us it’s not “in love with,” but it also tries to sneak in the same “feelings” as being in love.
To “love” is to feel a certain way. When we feel disconnected from Jesus or God, a lot of our response becomes “re-connecting” or re-manufacturing the feelings.
But, of course, to love is not necessarily to be “in love,” and the presence or absence of romantic feelings has been the death of many a relationship.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us what “loving” someone is, and there is very little of “feeling” in it.
Can we be patient with Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists? Kind? Not jealous or boastful or proud or rude to them? Not demanding our own way, our own nation, our own country, our own…? Can we be not irritable with Muslims?
Can we keep no record of being wronged by Muslims? (or Hindus, or Buddhists)?
Can we not rejoice about an injustice, but rejoice whenever the truth wins out?
Can we always believe, always be hopeful, always endure with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists?
(and, by the same token–can we do the same with Jesus? and our spouse?)