When I was a kid, we always had a slum book we’d pass around for our friends to answer. The question WHAT IS LOVE? was commonly present. Now that I’ve been a wife for nearly 9 years and a mom for more than 7 years, I can have a stab at giving an answer other than “Love is blind.”
What IS love?
L.oyalty and honor
When you love, you honor and protect. You treat those you love with respect. You HONOR who they are, despite their flaws. You think and speak highly of them. You PROTECT their dignity. You do not judge them. You defend them to those who do judge. You give them the benefit of the doubt. You do not throw them under the bus. You remain LOYAL to them.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Proverbs 3:3 NLT
O.penness and honesty
When you love, you exercise OPEN communication, allowing yourself to be HONEST, to be who you are, risking vulnerability, but also being ready to receive affection, encouragement, blessing, and even correction. When you love, you value the TRUTH. You value TRUST. You always speak the truth kindly and work at being worthy of trust. You value LISTENING as well. It manifests in your willingness to talk, to exchange thoughts, to learn, to agree to disagree, to forgive, to make PEACE.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19
Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:25-27
When you love, you put VALUE in your relationship with that person. You INVEST your time, energy, and resources on them. You CARE for them. You value your relationship more than your ego, more than yourself. They are high in your list of priorities, that you are willing to SACRIFICE certain things for them, without asking for anything in return.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
When you love and tough times come, in terms of marriage, you ENDURE by honoring your COMMITMENT to your spouse, your VOW before God, to be there in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in good times and bad, till death parts you. In marriage AND friendship, you endure by PERSEVERING. You commit to persevere even through the hurt, the disagreements, the fights, the anger. You look beyond feelings and offenses. You forgive. You NEVER GIVE UP or turn your back on them. You stand with them through good times and bad. You work at BUILDING the relationship, not tearing it down. You value and you always HOPE for RESTORATION.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Corinthians 13:4-7
When you are Loyal, when you are Open and honest, when you truly Value your relationship, when you are willing to Endure the difficult times…..albeit a limited definition, that’s LOVE, the epitome of which is JESUS.
Jesus remains loyal and faithful to us, despite our unfaithfulness to Him. He desires open and honest communication between us, not only teaching, encouraging, disciplining, and comforting us with the truth, but listening to us as well. We are precious to Him and He loves us dearly. He values us so much that He sacrificed His life so we could have a personal relationship with Him. He was willing to endure all the suffering, is willing to endure even our mistakes and disobedience now, fully committed to love us completely, continually and unconditionally. He restores, redeems, and gives us hope.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
Thank you Jesus for your unbelievably perfect love. I may not be able to grasp how wide, how long, how high, or how deep Your love for me is, and my words may not give justice to what love truly is, but I know YOU ARE LOVE. And only because of You, are we able to love You back and to love others.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!