A Many-splendored Thing

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Paul Francis Webster wrote the lyrics to the song Love is a Many-splendored Thing that in 1955 was used in a movie by the same title, and won an Academy Award for best original song. While I always liked the music, I never really paid any attention to the words. But there are at least two lines that hold some truth to them: “Love is nature’s way of giving, a reason to be livin...” 

When I consider the life of Jesus and how He related to others, the love, kindness, concern, and compassion that He consistently demonstrated was indeed a many-splendored thing. God is love (1 John 4:8) and love is of God (1 John 4:7). God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16). In other words, God is the essence of love. Genuine love comes only from God, and God demonstrated love in the most comprehensive and all-inclusive way when He gave us Himself in the gift of Jesus. So, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11). To drive the point home a little further, John elaborates on the issue. He says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). 

The essence of love is giving. But “things” do not always define giving. What so many people desire and need is someone just taking an interest in them: sharing time, sharing of yourself to simply be with someone, and sharing words of encouragement and offering up a prayer. These are all tangible ways of expressing love for one another that do not cost us anything–except ourselves.

It is a very sad thing when brothers and sisters in the church hold such disagreement with each other that they cease being civil with each other. Because they cannot, or will not, back down from personal agendas, lines of division are drawn and walls of separation are erected. It is only the love and grace of God that allows us to still embrace our brother and desire only his good, even if we don’t agree with him. It is God’s love that leads us to show respect and dignity for others, and treat others in the same way that Jesus has treated us–and remember, we are the ones who have always been in the wrong. That’s what makes God’s love a many-splendored thing!

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