The Beatles sang it in the mid-’60s and it is the mantra of our culture today: “All you need is love, love, love.” In a world of mass shootings, child abuse, hatred, racism, and war, love is the only antidote. And the Bible agrees. The problem is our definitions of love. John Lennon’s lyrics are empty. He called for love but said nothing about how to love. The culture deems love as permissiveness and approval to indulge in every kind of earthly attraction. But is that truly love?
In a sense the Beatles and the culture are right. Jesus said that the second most important commandment, after loving God, is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). But what does that look like? Whose meaning is right? I believe the Author of love is the best one to define it.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Rom 12:10).
“Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love” (Gal 5:13).
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph 4:2).
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you” (Eph 4:32).
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19).
“Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another (Col 5:13).
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16)
“Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
Does that look like the kind of love the culture is touting? Do you see that in Lennon’s lyrics? No and no. But can you imagine how this love would change the world? How about just your family? Love is much more than an ethereal notion. It is practical. It has substance. It has hands and feet. It has a voice. Your hands and feet. Your voice. And mine. Truly, all we need is love – love for God and love for one another. Yes, John, you were right – love is all we need.