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Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Is Love?

2-9-12

Ah...February.....National Heart Month, National Marriage Month, National Empty Your Pockets On Trinkets & Chocolate Month.

Where did January go?  Here we are almost Mid-February and staring down the barrels of Valentine's Day.  This is the month we celebrate our love for each other, shower each other with romantic cards and gifts.  But what is love?  Is it a chemical mix that happens in our brains causing an euphoric feeling or is it something else.  Love is an action verb not a complacent noun or an elated feeling.  Love is putting the thoughts, will, feelings, well being and best interests of another person or persons over your own thoughts, will, feelings, well being, and interests.  Love is a sacrifice.  It will cost you something and sometimes everything.

Today, love is thrown around lightly as if it is some magical thing to be cast upon someone to make that person do what we want him or her to do for us.  We love them as long as they give us what we want.  We love in word only and not in deed.  Is this love? I think not.

Even in the Church, the Body of Christ, we say "I love you" to people then talk about them when their backs are turned.  This is NOT the love we are supposed to have one for another.  We turn our backs on those who have wronged us instead of loving them.  We criticize those who do not do things according to our purposes, desires, and needs.  If we are not catered to, we pout and stomp our feet like children.  If we feel slighted by one of the people we claim we love, we don't speak to that person for months until they come to us and ask what's wrong.  Is this love?  I think not.

In the work place, our bosses may tell us "We love you and think the world of you" but plot to fire us at the first sign of any conceived insurrection without the possibility of defending ourselves.  They applaud us in front of some only to back stab us in front of others.  Is this love?  I think not.

Jesus spoke relentlessly about love. Mark 12:30-31 tells us, "And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with [d]your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." If we truly love God, then we should truly love those around us.

1 John 4:20 tells us that if our love for God is reflected in our love for others, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 1 John 2:15 says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

John 13:34 says, "I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another." John 15:12-13 says, "This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends."

So what is love?  1 Corinthians 13:3-8 tells is, "Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]."

1 Peter 4:8 tells us, "Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and [a]disregards the offenses of others]".  In other words, we don't go around pointing out the past or present sins of others.  We love them in spite of who they are.  We look past what was there and is there to see what could be there.  Love looks to the future of a person, not their past.

When another points out the failings of a person, the love in us should cover that person and the one bringing the accusation. Love sees the sinner who is in need of a Savior not the sin. So often, we hate the sinner and wink at the sin.  Galatians 6:1 gives us this admonition, "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also."  This is love in action.

The next time, you tell someone you love them, mean what you say and live what you say.

Most scriptures taken from the Amplified Version.  Some taken from the King James Version.