What Love Costs
I remember the first time I heard the story, the Velveteen Rabbit, a poignant children’s story of a rabbit who learns that through love, he becomes real. When the rabbit first heard about being real, he really didn’t know what loving would cost him. The skin horse described it to the rabbit, and the rabbit saw what he meant. The horse’s skin was worn and his eyes nearly loved off; he didn’t look anything like he had. As the story progresses, the young boy carries the velveteen rabbit day everywhere. With time, the rabbit becomes well worn, leaving the rabbit with torn tail, worn ears, and shabby velvet. The rabbit didn’t look like the fine rabbit he was on that Christmas Day many years before, but he knew he was loved. Through that love, the velveteen rabbit became real.
There are so many love stories in scripture that it would be impossible to name them here. Of course, Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter, providing a thorough picture of the characteristics of love. Christ gave us a short, and very direct way to fulfill every part of the law, and He said we should love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. In other words, we can’t really be a Christian without love.
The reality of loving is that love changes us. The loving process doesn’t always come easy, and yes, there are skins and bruises, even scars remain. Sometimes, love comes at great cost. When we truly love someone, we risk ourselves, make ourselves vulnerable. It changes us. Christ’s love for us and our love for Him changes us like no other love.
Finally, Christ commands us, “….love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34)”. It is through loving that we experience what it means to be alive. In turn, we fulfill the love of Christ and His command to us to love.