To be immutable is to be unchangeable. Gravity is immutable. It works every time. Thus we have the “law” of gravity.
I have done a simple exercise to illustrate: while talking about gravity, I raise my hand to head height and drop a pen or other object to the floor repeatedly. The effect really kicks in after 6 or 8 repeats. Observers start to “feel” the unchanging, consistent law of gravity as an object of observation, not just the normal “feel” of being pinned to the ground like we always experience.
Like any law, there are consequences. If I let go of a pen, it will drop. If I jump off a ledge – whether 1 foot or 100 feet off the ground – the same thing will happen every time. The way I am made, if I jump from 1 foot high, I can repeat that many times; if I jump from 100 feet I will likely only do that once.
Love also is a “law”. In the Bible, God first revealed this law in Deuteronomy 6: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” God commanded it. Jesus nuanced that in Matthew 22:24-40 when confronted by an expert in Law: “what’s the greatest command?” Jesus repeated Deut. 6, and added “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands.”
Paul later added weight to this for the Galatians in 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
The Law of Love is like the law of gravity. It’s immutable. To challenge or disobey it always has consequences. Those consequences vary, depending on the way we test it. A key factor is time – with gravity, the effect is immediately observed; with love it is not so immediate. Thus we are fooled into thinking that the Law of Love isn’t very powerful…to our great detriment.
In families, when love is not given appropriately, marriages fall apart, children suffer, and psychological pain ensues.
In the church, when love is not expressed appropriately, friction and rifts develop, conflict occurs, factions and splits result, and the witness of the church to the Love of Christ is damaged. It’s amazing that we don’t think of this when the disagreements begin; when “shots” are taken at someone; when we exercise power inappropriately.
I wish we would really believe in the Law of Love like we believe the law of gravity. We would be much more careful in our relationships. We would nurture them more diligently; sacrifice personal gain or even the advantage of being “right” so that love would be preserved. We would discipline and shape one another’s lives more carefully and gently. We would lead in the church and in the home differently.
God himself put the Law of Love into place – just like he put the law of gravity into place at creation. We’ll all do well to take care to observe both!