"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." -- 1John 3:16
Last week American Idol hopeful Chris Medina won the hearts of millions not with his dazzling vocals, but with his story of love and commitment. In 2009, two months before his scheduled wedding, his fiance was critically injured in a car accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"I was about to make vows just two months from the accident -- through thick and thin, 'til death do us part, for better or worse," he said in an interview. "What kind of guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me the most?"
As we learn of Chris' story, we watch in awe. His level of true commitment, devotion, and unadulterated unselfishness leaves us breathless. But perhaps the most telling part of the story is not Chris' actions, but our response.
In a society that rhapsodizes about "love" in everything from the biggest hits in every genre of music to the hottest movies to best selling books, we really don't get what love is.
We've redefined love to cater to our own pleasures and desires. We've made it all about ME! And we've forgotten what our God has taught us -- that love is sacrifice. It is laying down one's life for another. It is not about getting your needs fulfilled but about giving up your own comfort for another person's good.
Chris Medina has quite simply demonstrated true love. It is a choice he is making each day. And one I hope he continues to make.
Are you longing for love? Then take a honest look at Chris' story. His situation is not one any of us would ever choose. But if God saw fit to require it of us, would we be able to love well? It is not question I want to answer, because I fear I would fail, though I pray God would grant me the grace to walk faithfully through it.
Our ultimate example, our Lord Jesus Christ, demonstrated it so long ago when He laid down His life for us. But since we've heard it in church since childhood, sometimes it seems to have lost its luster. If we can get teary eyed in the face of Chris' demonstration to true love, why can't the idea of God Himself giving His very son still stir us inside?
As February approaches and Valentine's day emerges on the horizon, instead of buying chocolates and roses (or gagging at those who do), we would do well to ask God to help us learn to live out true love -- by His definition.