With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I wanted to take some time to talk about love. I have been thinking of this the last few days and want to offer both encouragement and caution.
Love is a word used so loosely in today's society. People throw the word around like it is sugar candy. Many abuse not only the word but everything it stands for. Love is not just a word or a feeling, it is not just sex. Love is an action verb. Love requires sacrifice, time, attention, patience and alot of perserverance.
I'll be honest with you, I am cautious with the word. I don't like it haphazardly thrown at me either. I have seen it abused in my life and I'm sure some of you reading this have too.
God is love and love is God. He is perfect love. Jesus is perfect love and the human reflection of God. I want to always love like Him but I fail in that at times, we all do. Love can be messy and hurtful and sometimes it is not enough to help the other person. Sometimes, they do not respond. When love is not enough, we have to be willing to let go and trust that God knows best. In these times, we may have to love someone from a distance. What we must know is that we have done our best, we have done what God would want us to do. Despite the other person, your love was not wasted and it accomplished in you what God wanted for you.
I say all of this not to make you run away from love or give up on love, but to simply be wise and cautious in the giving of something so precious. I know I have become more wise and cautious. I want to leave you today with the apostle Paul's words on love in 1st Corinthians Chapter 13, for they are the compass in pointing us to what love really is and what we should see in love:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].
With much love,