Abraham—A Man of Love
Abraham can hardly bear his sorrow. His beloved wife, Sarah, has died. A myriad of fond memories fill the aged man’s head while he says his final good-byes. As the grief rises in his heart, the tears fall. (Genesis 23:1, 2) Far from being a cause for shame or embarrassment, those tears give evidence of one of Abraham’s finest qualities—his love.
WHAT IS LOVE? Love is a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection. A loving person demonstrates by his actions how he feels about those whom he loves, even if doing so calls for personal sacrifice.
HOW DID ABRAHAM DISPLAY LOVE? Abraham showed that he loved his family. Undoubtedly, Abraham was a busy man. Yet, he never neglected his family’s emotional or spiritual needs. In fact, Jehovah himself noticed that Abraham took the lead in worship as a family head. (Genesis 18:19) What is more, Jehovah expressly mentioned Abraham’s love. Speaking to Abraham, He referred to Isaac as the “son whom you so love.”—Genesis 22:2.
We can further sense Abraham’s love in the way he reacted to the death of his dear wife, Sarah. Abraham wailed over her. Though strong and manly, he was not afraid to show his grief. Abraham exhibited a beautiful blend of strength and gentleness.
Abraham showed that he loved his God. His entire life course expressed such love. How so? We might be reminded of what the Bible says at 1 John 5:3: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.” By that definition, Abraham was a stellar example of love for God.
Time and again, when Jehovah gave Abraham a command, Abraham obeyed immediately. (Genesis 12:4; 17:22, 23; 21:12-14; 22:1-3) It did not matter whether the command was easy or hard to obey; nor did it matter much whether Abraham knew why Jehovah had asked him to comply with it. To Abraham, such factors were insignificant. If his God wanted him to do something, he was willing to do it. Abraham viewed each command as an opportunity to demonstrate his love for Jehovah.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR US? We can imitate Abraham by showing warm affection for others, especially for members of our family. We would never want to allow the pressures of life to crowd out time for those who mean the most to us.
We also do well to cultivate heartfelt love for Jehovah. Such love can be a powerful force in our lives. For example, it can motivate us to make changes in our attitudes, speech, and conduct in order to please God.—1 Peter 1:14-16.
Granted, obeying Jehovah’s commands is not always easy. But we can be sure that the One who helped Abraham—the One who called him “my friend”—will be there to support us too. (Isaiah 41:8) His Word, the Bible, promises: “He will make you firm, he will make you strong.” (1 Peter 5:10) What a heartwarming promise from that trusted Friend of Abraham!
[Box on page 11]
Is It Unmanly to Cry?
Many would answer yes. Perhaps they would be surprised to learn that Abraham was just one of several vigorous, faithful men whom the Bible describes as giving way to tears in times of distress. Others include Joseph, David, the apostle Peter, the elders of the congregation in Ephesus, and even Jesus. (Genesis 50:1; 2 Samuel 18:33; Luke 22:61, 62; John 11:35; Acts 20:36-38) Clearly, the Bible does not teach that it is unmanly to cry.