Learning to Love

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Olympic athletes train their entire life for that hope of their physical prime intersecting precisely with the once-every-four-year-event known as the Olympic games. Their diet, schedule, family and social life are all literally surrounding this one aspect. So why would such an athlete willingly give up that spot for someone else? In a word, the answer is LOVE.

Durango, CO, native Tracy Barnes gave up her spot on the U.S. Olympic biathlon team to her twin sister, Lanny. She said of her sister's selfless act, "It shows if you care enough about someone, you're willing to sacrifice everything. This is her dream, what she's been talking about her entire life."

Love is mentioned several times in the Bible. In the New Testament, it most often comes from two Greek words: one means a love that is sacrificing for someone else, and the other a friendship kind of love.

In John 21, Jesus asks Peter if he (self-sacrificing) loved Him. Peter said, "Lord, you know I (friendship) love you." This was repeated. Peter could not force himself to say he "self-sacrificing" loved Jesus. Peter had the chance to show that kind of love, and he instead denied Christ.

A third time Jesus asks a question, but this time He asks Peter if he (friendship) loved him. Peter became upset because the third time Jesus had changed the word. Jesus could legitimately question the sacrificial love, but, in Peter's mind, how could Christ question his friendship love.

Of course, Jesus was simply trying to make Peter realize that he needed to grow in his love for the Lord. That was a lesson Peter learned well, as he ultimately gave his life for Jesus. Peter also taught this growth in love from a friendship to a sacrificial in I Peter 1:22 and II Peter 1:7. 

Proper love is something that is learned, and it is a lesson we must heed. Imagine what the Lord's church would be if we learned to love the Lord and each other, not simply in a friendship way, but in a way that we would be willing to sacrifice our own selves for each other and for the Lord!

(For more info about the Barnes, see http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/sochi/2014/01/14/olympic-athlete-biathlon-gives-spot-to-twin-sister/4475535/)