Love can be reciprocal and non-reciprocal. Rarely do we ever ponder these two characteristics, but they are important to understand. Of course, the ideal love is reciprocal. That is, when we give away love it is returned from another. This is the easiest form of love we can experience, since it appeals to the positive desire for love we were created with.
Non-reciprocal love, however, is not so easy, nor is it always so desirable to anyone but the most saintly among us. When we choose to deliberately love someone who clearly does not deserve such affection it is a reflection of divine love. This is the same love Christ showed by dying for our sins.
Unfortunately, as mentioned in part one of this article, we tend to love the wrong things. So then what are the right things to love, the Biblical objects of love?
1. Love of God- Scripture encapsulates this well. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength...."- Luke 10:27
2. Love of Others- "..and your neighbor as yourself."- Luke 10:27 Who is your neighbor? Anyone in need that you have the ability to help. This includes the spiritual need for Christ. You treat that person as you would like to be treated.
"Our religion commands us to love even our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us...For everyone loves those who love them. It is unique to Christians to love those who hate them."- Tertullian
"For what reward is there, if you love only those who love you? Do not the Gentiles do the same? Rather, love those who hate you..."- The Didache (quoting Jesus)
3. Love of Self- This is one I bet you didn't expect. Yet the truth is we must love ourselves. That is, we must have a healthy self image. That is a self image that corresponds with Truth. We're made in the Image and Likeness of God, and are inherently valuable.