Love is all we need. Or is it?

For whatever reason, one of the whimsical tunes I find myself whistling from time to time is the John Lennon song from the year of my birth, 1967, All You Need Is Love.


It’s catchy, simple, and quite repetitive. “All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”


Or is it?


It depends on what one means by “love.” In a world prevalent with war, and in a country where senseless shootings continue to destroy lives, families, and communities, is love all we need? 


May 13: Milwaukee, seventeen people shot, no fatalities. May 14: Buffalo, thirteen people shot, ten fatalities. May 15: Houston, Laguna Woods, Amarillo, Winston-Salem, a total of 23 people shot, four fatalities. At least two of these mass shootings were racially motivated.


As a result, many African- and Asian-Americans are fearful of doing some of life’s most basic activities like grocery shopping or even going to church. 


All you need is love.


Yes, love is all we need, if love is more than “word or talk” but is “in action and in truth” (1 John 3:18). 


Yes, love is all we need, if love “does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).


Yes, love is all we need if we “do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).


Yes, love is all we need, if love is sincere (Romans 12:9), if we are devoted to one another in love (Romans 12:10), if our love does no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:10), if we are compelled by Christ’s love (2 Corinthians 5:14), if we serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13), if we bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2), if we speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), if our love abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Philippians 1:9), if we are united in love (Colossians 2:2), if our labor is prompted by love (1 Thessalonians 1:3), if our love increases and overflows for each other (1 Thessalonians 3:12), if we love righteousness and hate wickedness (Hebrews 1:9), if we spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24), if we have sincere love for one another and love one another deeply from the heart (1 Peter 1:22), if we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and if we love our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:37, 39), and if through our love, we lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16).


If this is what we mean by love, then, yes, indeed, all you need is love.


* This post is dedicated to the families of all the victims in the tragedies mentioned above. While we are continually increasing awareness of the effects of violence, it is vital to recognize the rippling consequences that direct trauma can have on all those affected by violent crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.