by Michael Osborne
Parents expecting their second child frequently wonder, Will I ever be able to love the second as much as the first? Not that the first is inherently more lovable. It’s that the first got exclusive love and attention for months or years before the second came along, and the second is born into a world in which he or she shares the parents’ attentions with the firstborn. And certainly time and resources are limited, and time and resources must be shared. However, love itself does not follow that math.
Love is rooted in the eternal God who is love (1 John 4:8). And love can grow with its object, or objects. J.I. Packer described God’s love as His binding up His happiness with ours. Romans 12:15 instructs us, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (KJV). That would be love. First Corinthians says that love “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (13:6). The remainder of the chapter describes love as humble, selfless, and thoughtful toward another person’s interests. Love is happy at someone else’s good (John, who had “no greater joy” than to see his children “walk in truth”—3 John 4) and distressed at someone else’s distress (Epaphroditus, who when sick was actually distressed at other people’s distress over his sickness—Phil. 2:26!).
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