In his thrice-repeated inquiry of Peter, "Lovest thou me?" the Master was addressing a disciple whose devotion had proved to be pitifully impulsive and unreliable. More than this, he was emphasizing for all time and all professed Christians the divine insistence that love shall be genuine; that Truth can tolerate no pretense; that, however simple the offering, it must be neither deformed nor marred. There is thus brought to awakening thought the need of thoughtfulness respecting the quality of one's affections.

We may feel hurt, as did Peter, by the intimations involved in Truth's persistent questioning, but this sensitiveness argues for rather than against the propriety of a careful examination on our part respecting the genuineness of our loving, since in no matters are we more subject to self-deception than in those of the heart. No plea is so likely to receive a favorable hearing at the bar of our judgment as that entered in behalf of some loved object, and we cannot be true to our need or to the scientific spirit if we hesitate to submit the heart of our devotions to the test of Truth.

How frequently is it said, "I love you," when the sum and substance of the asserted attachment is nothing more than a personal liking, the glamour, perchance, of a mere physical attractiveness. Indeed so long as selfhood is identified with or at least made to include the body, this sense deception is not only possible but invitable; and yet no intelligent Christian can think of love, the only true love as Christ Jesus defined it, without perceiving that no element of physicality pertains thereto. Our Lord's supreme command involves the at-one-ment of love to God and love to our brother. He taught that the only wise for a Christian to love is God-wise. Frequently he expressed the thought to his disciples that he loved them with the Father's love for him, and that they were to continue this loving, and thus continue his work. To love divinely is the highest spiritual activity, an activity which is impossible apart from the recognition of man in God's image, and that compassion for mortals which this recognition engenders.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 6, 1912

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.