Have you ever wondered
* about altruism - the reflection of God's character of love?
* about the nature of human love and where it comes from?
* about what the standard of love is that God demands of us?
The feelings of natural family love were given to us to teach us of true altruistic love - the love which we must have in order to conform to the law of God.
A mother will, without hesitation, risk her own life to save the life of her baby.
A father knows that there is no power on earth that can stop him from honoring (or trying to honor) the utter trust of his little boy.
A couple in love know very deeply that neither of them would intentionally do anything to hurt the other.
And how parents will watch over an ill child and how they grieve at its death.
Such is the nature of human love.
And such is the nature of electrical charges, neurotransmitters, and hormones as they are experienced in the brain. These particular feelings, which we call love, are among the strongest and purest that we can know. The effect is to produce actions that resemble very closely the unselfish, bottomless love of altruism - but they are not altruism.1
As fallen (self-centered) children of Adam, altruistic love is foreign to our hearts and experience. Even our seemingly unselfish acts, when examined honestly, reveal some self-centered motive.
The feelings of natural family love were given to us to teach us of true altruistic love - the love which we must have in order to conform to the law of God.2
The content of the law of God, which is a reflection of His character, can be summed up in one word - altruism.3
Altruism is love, similar to the purest love we know among ourselves, but with an important difference - it is infinite in nature. The supply from which the goodwill is drawn, has no limit. It can therefore not be generated by finite beings.4
This love never fails.5 It is like the love of an (ideal) mother (unconditional and accepting). It is the kind of love we would like to continually receive from others.
This love does not tolerate injustice. It zealously recognizes God as the creator and rightful ruler. It comes to the aid of those who have been wrongly treated. It warns those in danger. It treats, with tenderness and mercy, those who have been hurt.
This love is others-centered. It seeks humbly to serve rather than to be served. It places a priority on self-improvement - not for self, but to improve one's ability to unselfishly help others. (Of course, in the kingdom of God, we are also recipients of this love.)
One's own passions, drives and appetites, are held in check for the sake of others. There is no clamoring for status or position. Imposed hardship, abuse, and injustice are accepted, not only with patience, but with a joy untainted by any thought of self-righteousness or retaliation.
Clearly, the purity of thought required by the moral law of God (altrusim), disqualifies us from ever entering the utopia of His kingdom.6 When the period of grace ends, the lives of those who are still sinful, will end with it.7 Because our sinfulness is an integral part of our natures, we have a problem which we ourselves cannot solve.8
But, because God is altruistic, He will come to our rescue. Surely we can wait on Him, with childlike trust. This trust He, as our loving and all-powerful father in heaven, will not disappoint.9
Supporting Biblical References
1 Isaiah 49:15
2 Matthew 22:30 (Human love is temporary teacher)
3 1 John 4:7,8
4 John 15:4
5 1 Corinthians 13:8
6 Romans 3:10-12
7 Revelation 20:9,10,13-15
8 Romans 7:24
9 Isaiah 25:9