Expressions of Love

It is incredible what men and women have done over the centuries as an expression of love--both good and bad. People have fought wars, done incredible feats of strength and/or endurance, and written beautiful poetry and music as an expression or demonstration of their love. The cover of our magazine this month displays a beautiful structure that was built as an expression of love. The story goes like this:

In the early1600s, the ruler of India was a man named Shah Jahan. The love of his life was named Mumtaz Mahal. The love, support, and advice that Mumtaz Mahal gave the ruler was so great that he discussed all state affairs with her and had her affix the royal seal to all state documents before they were released. She even accompanied him to battles of a military nature.

In 1629, Shah Jahan set out for battle with Mumtaz Mahal, but on June 7, 1631 Mumtaz Mahal suddenly died while giving birth to her fourteenth child. The emperor devoted himself to a monument to his wife which was given the name which is a colloquial abbreviation of her name--Taj Mahal. The structure was finished in 1648 and Mumtaz was buried under it. On January 22, 1666, Shah Jahan died and was buried beside his wife.

People have marveled at the beauty of the construction of the Taj Mahal, and the love story it expressed has superseded language and political boundaries. Truly this love story has conquered all.

There is a still greater love story that needs to occupy our attention. It is not the love of a man and a woman that dominates this love story, but rather it is the greatest apologetic for the Christian faith. Unlike all other religious systems, pure Christianity made love the number one priority. Consider the strength of the following biblical teachings:

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ( Matt 5:43-44).

This is the message you heard from the beginning; We should love one another ( 1 John 3:11).

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us" ( 1 John 3:23).

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" ( 1Cor.13:13).

The thing that sets Christianity apart and causes it to radiate a new way of living to all of mankind is its emphasis on love. Only Christianity has the potential to eradicate national, political, and ethnic barriers to love and peace. Only Christianity can lift women to the level of dignity and importance that they deserve and eradicate racial prejudice. These things can never be accomplished by force or violence. No amount of political rhetoric or physical effort can change greed, selfishness ,or inflated egos because they lie protected in the recesses of attitudes. When men and women allow their attitudes and values to be shaped by love, meaningful positive change can occur.

We marvel at wonders of the world constructed by men and women as expressions of love, but even more incredible are the changes that have been made in human lives through the power of Christ. The National Institute for Health Care Research has documented these changes statistically in recent years in their publications, but most of us know people who have changed their lives in dramatic ways and who know the power to make that change did not come from themselves but from the God who "so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son" ( John 3:16).

--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec98.