There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. – George Sand
The quest to love and be loved is inherent in humans, because love is great; it is endearing; it brings harmony, peace and stability to one’s very soul. Love covers many a fault, love indeed is divine. William Shakespeare once said, love is blind because it does not look with the eyes but with the mind. The story of love is often told in books, movies and folklore. There are indeed great love stories that have been told over the course of history. But what is the greatest love story ever told? You may be thinking of one you have read in a romance novel or the one you have seen in a movie or that of the family or may be that of a friend who abandons everything else to care for a friend in need. One may even think of the love shown by humanitarians who risk their lives to bring relief to innocent people in war and disaster stricken areas. These stories are great; they define and indeed portray love adequately as unselfish or selfless, sacrificial, endearing and indeed profound. It stands in stark contrast to some modern understanding of love of which desire for personal gratification and gain is the driving force and the love story ends when those needs can no longer be met. Ties as strong as marriages are ended because one partner could no longer make the other happy. The fun had stopped, so the ties are broken; true love however goes beyond fun and personal happiness, it prioritises the other person’s happiness. True love is about you, before me.
Which then is the greatest love story? It is the story of love as portrayed by someone who had everything in abundance yet left his abundance to meet with his friends who constantly wronged him. People who turned their backs on him, hurting him and making a mockery of his very being, some even denying he ever existed or exists. It is the story of one who bore the burdens of all his friends, one who underwent great suffering to bring reconciliation to his friends who were in the wrong. One who made himself a victim so that his erring friends may become victors. One who suffered so that his friends will never have to suffer, bearing the shame just to take it away from his friends.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. –Isa 53:7-10
This is the story of love shaped by selflessness, coated in compassion and capped in ultimate sacrifice. Scarcely can a man die for a righteous or innocent man talk less of sinners but this love is manifested in the fact that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; (Rom 5:7-8) because “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). This love story is portrayed in sacrificial giving. It is the love that no mere mortal can give. God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for the forgiveness of all sins (Jn 3:16). It is the greatest love story. It has been told so that you may understand that God loves you so much, irrespective of your circumstances or preconceptions. God’s love cleanses from all sins, when we choose to accept his sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. So, whatever situation you may be facing or have faced, whatever wrong you may have done, God is calling you to come as you are; believe in him and Jesus Christ whom he sent, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ. Then all your sins will be forgiven and you will become part of the greatest love story. You will have another chance at beginning life anew.