You probably didn’t understand the law of gravity in scientific terms until someone explained it to you, even though you’ve been subject to it since birth. You became aware of its basic effect as soon as you were old enough to sit up and topple over.—“What goes up must come down.” When you got a little bigger, you learned “The bigger they come, the harder they fall.” Those were tough lessons at a tender age, but they are why you can now handle the good china without breaking it and climb a ladder without breaking your neck. Gravity has benefits as well as undesirable consequences, of course. Without giving it a passing thought, much less due credit, you use gravity to arch the ball into the basket, draw water from the faucet, check your weight, and perform a thousand other services.
Just as God created gravity and other laws of physics to govern our physical world, He created spiritual laws to govern our relationships with Him and others. If gravity is our starting point in learning about physical realities, parental love is our starting point in learning about relationships. Our parents’ love is all we need as babies to feel secure and complete. But as we grow up, our worlds expand. Situations and relationships get more complex. We find that gravity isn’t the only natural force at play, and that not everyone loves us the way our parents do.
Interpersonal relationships are one of life’s greatest challenges, but also one of its greatest rewards. How can we both give and get the most from those relationships? Where do we even start? Jesus gave us the keys when He said, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you,” and “Love one another as I have loved you.”1 As sure as the law of gravity, the better we get to know Jesus, the more of His love we experience and the more it spills over to our relations with others.