When we talk about loving like God loves, we often have in mind God’s unconditional love, the idea that no matter what we do, we can not lose God’s love. Spoken of in human terms, the easiest way for us to understand unconditional love is to think of the love a parent has for a child.
In a book I mentioned in a post some days ago, What is the Point of Being Christian? , Timothy Radcliffe speaks of loving as God loves in a slightly different way. Quoting C.S. Lewis statement that “It is a divine privilege always to be less the beloved than the lover,” he observes that “God is always the one who loves more than he is loved.” He then suggests that loving more than we are loved may also be our vocation, explaining
This implies the refusal to let people become too dependent on one and to occupy the center of their lives. One should help them to discover other forms of support, other pillars, so that one is not indispensable. So the question one must always put is this: Is my love making this other person stronger, more independent, or is it making them weaker, and dependent on me?
I think there is a part of us that wants to be indispensable to those we love. There can be something attractive in thinking we are needed. But I think Radcliffe is right that real love does not demand that we be the center of another’s life. The focus is not: what does my love for someone do for me, but what does it do for them.