Love Dies

To love is to die
Three words can change your life

My dad hates to lose. Okay, so I come by it honestly. He thought we were cheating, but I promise we weren’t, really. Granules slid through the neck of the hourglass as I sketched a lopsided shape. My sister yelled, “NASA!” Score. Don’t ask me how she knew, I guess it’s a sister thing. That’s why the corners of my lips curled up and I nodded my head when I read her comment on my Facebook page. Yes, it’s definitely a sister thing.

Last week, I asked for input,

Describe love using one word.

My definition was already settled but I wanted your opinions and all the answers completely aligned.

Jesus ~ Christ ~ God ~ Abba



Sacrificial ~ Cross


Forever ~ Commitment ~ Faithful

Forgiveness ~ Mercy ~ Humility

Others ~ Family ~Children

But what did my sister say? She said, “VERB.”

Love is a verb, an action, but what action?

John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” HCSB

This is my life verse, I memorized it and display it on my wall and although I taught it and tried to live it, I ignored the heart of it. In the past I thought it meant kindness expressed toward humanity. I suggested caring for the poor, homeless, orphans, refugees, lost and haters. You’ve probably heard me preach giving and forgiving; sharing and serving. And certainly, no one will believe we really follow Jesus if we behave hatefully. Even Jesus won’t believe it.

1 John 4:21, “The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” MSG

How will they know?

Not an unreasonable question and I’ve asked it a million times, but the answer isn’t nearly as simple as I thought. Tucked in the middle of the answer, three words escaped my notice. How will they know? They’ll know IF….we love one another.

Problem is, I didn’t understand love. At all. Oh I thought I did and I tried to love and even encouraged you to do the same. Sorry, I didn’t get it because I overlooked three obscure words and therefore misled my own opinion.

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” ESV

In a sea of colorful faces, there’s Waldo, hidden until you spot him, then like the draw of a magnet, your eye locks on him every time you look. Three words changed my life. Did you see them?


Christ calls us to love as he loved; undeserved, sacrificial, selfless – until death.

Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” NLT

Now my vocabulary has changed, my theology is more complete and I’m more whole to speak about the meaning of true love. Three words changed my life. Words I spoke like a broken record yet so familiar I never drank them into my own soul. Oh Lord, give us eyes that see and ears that hear before we have a heart that does not feel.

Psalm 119:70, “Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.” NIV

I’ve loved and I’ve been in love; truth be told I still am and won’t ever give up on that, but I’ve learned a lot more about love than I ever understood before.  Some people have to learn the hard way I guess.

You see to love like Jesus is to die, voluntarily. Do you want to love like that?


He loved us before we loved him

He loves us when we don’t love him

His love never fails

He loves us when we turn our backs on him and run after worthless things of this world

He raises his hands and volunteers to take our sin and offers us His righteousness

The more you know Christ, the more you love. You see, true love dies.

Mark 15:64, “The sentence: death.” MSG

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself capable of enduring a cross for someone who despises me. So what does death look like? What does “as I have” mean for us?

To love is to die: to my rights and my need to be right, to my wants and my needs. Any volunteers?

True love volunteers to die #sacrificialLove #Agape Click To Tweet

I hope you’ll take time to visit “Yesterday To Forever” where my friend, Cindy Hansberry describes sacrificial death. CLICK HERE

15 thoughts on “Love Dies

  1. Sisters are great, aren’t they? Everything about your post is spot on, but without that illustration, it seems like the same message I have heard over the years. As a writer, that illustration made Jesus’ message “pop” for me! Thanks for sharing what God lays on your heart. Loving as Christ loves us is hard some times. I needed the reminder.

  2. Glad you have broadened your perspective. When I have reached out to you in what I hoped would be love (ie. our daughter’s medical issues during college; feedback regarding writing a sexual related college paper; attending your speaking event and not being acknowledged by you), I felt spurned. It will be interesting to see how you have applied this new insight, next time I reach out.

    1. I’m so sorry you feel that way. I do remember responding when you emailed years ago, I simply did not have the resources to assist. When you attended the speaking engagement, I made special arrangements to have you seated on the front row with family. However, my health was not good and I was struggling with profound weakness much more than is evident by my appearance. Speaking and crowds particularly drain me. I regret that you felt spurned, it certainly was not personal.

  3. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, used to say to her staff when they would come complaining about this or that, “See in it a chance to die.” We all need to be more willing to die to our own preferences, in love.

  4. The inference you made from your sister’s definition is spot on. Love, I believe, is what you do for someone. Talking, thinking nicely about them is part of it but we have got to demonstrate that love through our actions. My word for the year is Love, the challenge being to love others like Christ. That is why your article strikes such a chord with me. Thanks for sharing.

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