Love is corruptible. There isn’t a ceremony, ritual, or tradition that can undo this. No matter how good love feels, how chaste is it, or how well it holds up to every measure of society, it can always be tarnished. This doesn’t mean that we should abandon love. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is non-negotiable. But Jesus also explained unequivocally that loving our neighbors comes secondary to loving God. In other words, no relationship will ever be as important as our relationship with God. We must dwell in this loving, personal relationship with our Creator at all cost, even when it means we forsake all others.
Perfect love is not expected of us. We are simply asked to love God the best we can. Even in our flawed state, we can strive with passion to know him and to be with him. We can learn about God and what pleases him by reading the Bible. We can make a conscious effort to spend time with him and obey his commandments. We can serve him with acts of charity and give up our possessions in sacrifice. We can worship him with our voices, our words, and our individual expression. In these ways and others, we can give this relationship priority over others, nurture it, and reap the benefits.
Sometimes our relationship with God takes us away from the world completely. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who abandon the world to become magnitudes stronger in the Lord. Sometimes the world’s pull becomes too difficult for us to resist, and we have to leave it in order to abide in our relationship with God. Other times, God may ask us to leave the world as a step in faith because he has a purpose in mind for us more incredible than anything we could imagine. No mortal relationship is worth jeopardizing the eternal relationship that we each have with God. To abandon God can only mean death.
God designed man and woman to love one another and form relationships as he sees fit. We have no better example of how to properly love our neighbors than in our Lord Jesus Christ. His is the only love guaranteed to escape the grip of corruption. We can’t expect of ourselves or anyone else to provide that kind of love. Nobody’s heart is out of reach of God’s love. Earthly relationships should be formed in faith that God’s love is enough for everyone.
God’s love is infinite in the mathematical sense, such that, given the greatest act of love found in mankind, an even greater love exists in God. This remains true in every case. Our very capacity to love is a gift from the one who created us. What better way to show our gratitude for this incredible gift than through obedience. Our place isn’t to love another soul before we first love God. Let our actions reflect our faith in this truth, that his love is infinite and unconditional as ours can never be.
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-4)