Friday, February 12, 2010

All You Need Is Love

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It's Valentines weekend here in the US, and I for one will be glad when the parade of red, pink and diamond jewelry commercials become a thing of the past once again. Admittedly, I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. Well, except when I was a teenager and every year I was certain that Prince Charming would pop out of the woodwork and profess his dying love. As I get older though and the years pass by, I get more and more annoyed with this day to celebrate love. Why do we need a day to celebrate love? Love should be experienced every single day of the year, but it should be more about the giving than the receiving of love.

Look at all these traits of love in the verses I posted above. Nowhere does it say that love must go sell a body part to finance a piece of jewelry. Nowhere does it say that love comes wrapped in foil and filled with chocolate. Love is just so much more than what this silly commercial holiday says it is.

Love is patient and love is kind. When someone is struggling, love lets us come along side that person struggling and offering an arm to help carry them along for a while. Love tells me that when I am waiting for someone, that I have all the time in the world and when they do arrive, I show that I am not upset or agitated.

Love does not envy, does not boast and is not proud. It is love that keeps me from telling everyone we meet about the latest greatest thing we bought the other day. Love keeps me from bragging to everyone we know about how great my kids really are doing in school. Oh, I'll love on my kids all right and tell them they're doing great, but I have no idea if that other mom is really struggling with her kids, or if there is another couple really having a rough time with their kids...Love keeps me from bragging and making those people feel worse about their situation. Instead, love fills me with kindness, and I lend an ear so that I can hear about those troubles and pray for them- maybe offer an encouraging word.

Love is not rude and not self-seeking. When I do something for someone out of kindness and love, I do it for them specifically to bless them. I don't do it for the accolades. I don't do it so the next day at church I can brag to all about how I went and did this specific thing yesterday. At the same time, when someone is sharing about how they went through something, I don't interrupt to tell them about my experience which was really so much worse. To them, that was important, and I should have listened without offering my own story.

Love is not easily angered or keeps record of wrongs. This means that when someone does something that annoys me I have to just let it go and forget about it. There are just some people who seem to be prone to getting under your skin. Love tells me to love them anyway, so when they do get to that point, I turn to love, which keeps me from getting annoyed and angry. And on the off chance that someone does do something wrong to me- I need to forgive and then forget completely. Love does not allow me to keep a record in my head of all the wrongs that someone has done. If I kept a written record of every time my child displeased me, I would have quite the long naughty list. But I don't do that. I don't keep a record of my child's wrongs because I love them so much. Love tells me that the more I love them, the better they will behave. As they learn from my example, they will also learn the traits of love.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Ah, I think we all learn this one. Have you ever had that situation where you could look at someone and say "I told you so." Yikes. Love removes that sentence from the spoken language. Love will never look at someones rough situation and laugh at them or scorn them. Instead, love feels compassion and wants to help right a wrong. And in a situation where the truth must come out, when it does, the rejoicing will be wonderful- full of love and gratefulness to the God who supplies all our needs.

Love always protects and trusts. When someone trusts me with a secret, or a detail, that is meant for my ears. Love will protect that secret as if it is my own- it is not something that I casually gossip about or share with anyone who will listen. Love will protect those precious words and ideas, and love understands the great trust that was placed in me in the first place.

Loves always hopes. Love always hopes for the future. Love is what fills me with prayers for friends going through rough times, and love is what leads me to find powerful stories of testimony to share with friends going through those times- to share tales and stories of hope and resolution. Love places our hope in Jesus Christ and our God who truly is Jehovah Jireh and sees our every need. Love reaches out to those around us who need that hope- who need that everlasting assurance.

Because love is always persevering. Love is what keeps me going back to talk to that neighbor for the hundredth time about Christ and what He has done for me. Love is what keeps me on my knees at night praying for the thousandth time for that need a sister shared with me. Love never, ever quits. Jesus is the perfect example of this. How easy it would have been for Him to say "enough" and walk away from the task before Him. But He didn't. He stayed the course, and because He did... because He loved us so much, we can now spend an eternity with Him in the heavenly courts of praise. Love never quits or gives up.

"Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:8

Love should be experienced and celebrated 365 days of the year- not just on some made-up greeting card holiday. I want to love each and every day of my life- not just the day the calendar has set aside for love. Love never fails. It didn't fail me thousands of years ago when Christ died for me, and I choose to honor that love and try and share it with as many as I can. God. Is. Love. All year round, God is love, and for that, I am eternally grateful and filled with the love that transcends all understanding.

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