Jonathan Edwards on Love
[Love is] an union of the heart with others; a kind of enlargement of the mind, whereby it so extends itself as to take others into one’s self: and therefore it implies a disposition to feel, to desire, and to act as though others were one with ourselves.
I have often believed that ‘love’ is the most misunderstood word in the English language. Even Christians can mistake its meaning, which is tragic, since there hardly is a more important word.
We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, Jesus taught. According to many, this means we are to love others as much as we love ourselves. This gives a kind of backhanded affirmation to self-love.
But biblical love is very different.
It is to take up the life of another and make it your own life. It is to bear up another’s life as though it were your own. It is to live in the life of another – in other words, to give up your life for another.
This was the case with Jesus, who, in love, delivered up his life for many:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)