So, for about a year or two, I’ve been obsessed with learning what it means to love. I have made the decision that I want love to be the defining mark of my life. When I die, I want people to remember the love I shared. I cannot do this on my own, so I’ve been asking God to teach me. I feel that there is still so much for me to learn, but I would like to share with y’all what I have learned so far.
I feel like we as society have forgotten what love is, and what love means. We use the word so frequently and casually in conversation, that it’s lost its impact in our ears. This poor word has been devalued in it’s over simplistic, over the top use that we have forgotten that love is a VERB. Yes, a verb. It is a doing word. It is an action word. It is so much more than a feeling! In fact, maybe we should take feelings and emotions out of the equation completely. I’m not going to say that they don’t exist. Clearly, there is no plausibly denying this. What I am saying is we must go beyond this. Love in all its entirety DEMANDS that we go beyond the fuzzy feelings that move our heart. Love is powerful. Love is patient; it is kind, longsuffering, humble, protective, trusting, hoping, and persevering. Love is not to be envious; it is not boastful, not dishonoring of others, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs, not self-seeking, and certainly not delighting in evil (1st Cor 13) So what does this mean? Love is a list of dos and don’ts? It’s so much more than that.
Love is taking a seat next to your friend at the bottom of the stairs and staying by them no matter how hard they try to make you give up on them. Love is texting your friend who was having a bad day telling them that you love them, and then stopping by their room first thing in the morning with coffee and brownies. Love is sitting with your best friend while they’re crying because their parents are getting a divorce even when you have no words to offer them besides sorry. Love is staying on the line with your girlfriend when she’s just gotten news that her sister has run away even when, again, you have no words to say. Love is sitting with the geeky kid that everyone pretends doesn’t exist even if others show ridicule. Love is listening to a homeless man talk about his life and his favorite hot spots in St Louis even though you’re exhausted. Love is randomly messaging your sister just to tell her that she is beautiful. Love is standing at the abortion clinic giving a hug to the teenage girl that just walked out after terminating her pregnancy even if you don’t agree with what she’s done. Love is stopping at the door of the new freshmen on your floor and asking how their day is going. Love is smiling at the stranger that you pass on your way to the market even at the risk of seeming awkward. Love is grabbing onto your boyfriend’s hand when he’s just picked up his razor again even when you don’t understand. Love is staying up all night with your roommate because she is anxious even though you want to sleep. Love is going beyond the stereotypical “Jesus loves you” and showing people that they are worth more than just three little words. Love is taking what little food you have to the trailer park to share with the children there. Love surprisingly enough, is not about you. Love is about the person towards which you are orienting your character. Even if you don’t directly tell them about who Jesus is, they get a glimpse of Him by your love.
Now, because love demands so much, can we willingly do it on our own? No. No we cannot. We can try. And hey, who’s to say that we won’t succeed once or twice? But to truly love is to pour out what’s being poured into you. So, who is pouring into you? Is it God, the creator of love, the one who is in fact love incarnate? Is it yourself? Is it the world? Is it specific people in your life? Well, if it isn’t God, how can we truly say we know what it means to love?