Happy Sunday morning to you! I wanted to jump on here just to share a thought with you this morning. Lately, I’ve been struggling with a certain four letter word. Right now you’re probably thinking, today’s a good day to fix that then. That four letter word isn’t quite what you’re thinking. The struggle hasn’t been in the slip of the tongue as much as with the meaning. That four letter word is LOVE! How bad can that word be right? Well for me these past few months it’s been rough. Through a recent family situation (not involving my husband or children) I have started questioning the validity of this word. We..I use it for so many things. I use it to express my feelings towards my husband, children and friends. I use it to describe my affection for food, a treasure on a shopping trip or something I see or read. I use it to express many things but am I using it or is it being used the way it was meant to be used? I believe words have meaning and I believe that out of the abundance of our heart, we speak. So when we say “I love” what do we really mean? Is it possible to love someone and yet not like them? I used to say yes, until recently that is. I cannot believe that if we say we love someone we can actually not like them. I’m going to share with you how I’ve come to this conclusion in a minute. But first I have to try and wrap my brain around the carelessness in my own use of this word love. I love the season fall and all things that are involved..but when I say that, do all the characteristics of love apply? After really diving into 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, I feel like it doesn’t. I once heard Julia Roberts say, after receiving an award, how much she appreciated the “intention” of the people who gave her that award. She thanked them for being intentional in their efforts. I want to be a person of intention. I want my words to take on the meaning that I truly intend for them to. I don’t want to carelessly say “I love” something or someone without the power or truth behind it nor do I want to be told I’m loved if there’s no truth to it. The word love should be used much like a marriage vow.
The love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 goes like this;
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. Love never fails.”
WOW! So if I read this correctly when we say “I Love You”, here’s what that should look like….
I will be patient with you and I will be kind to you. I will not be jealous of you. I will not boast to you or be prideful. I will not dishonor you in any way. I will seek your best interest versus mine. I will not get angry easily with you. I will not make a list of things you do wrong or that irritate me. I will not look for evil things in you but always seek for truth. I will always protect you. I will always trust you, I will always hope with you and for you. I will stay by your side and have your back. I will not fail you.
Now I know, we are not Jesus. We ARE human. We fail daily. I FAIL daily. But I am determined to make sure that when I say the words, “I Love” that it has the full meaning.
Recently, I was told, “I love you, but sometimes I really don’t like you!” & “I love you but we cannot be around each other” but wait there’s more..” I love you and if you ever need me, I’ll be here, but don’t ever speak to me.” Those words cut like a knife! I can’t really blame that person as much as I’d like, because shoot, I may have even said, “I love you, but don’t like you” a time or two, not thinking of it’s impact. But trying to be accountable now for information when I receive it, won’t allow me to say that ever again. According to this scripture, I cannot say I love someone and not have this meaning.
I have been in church just about my whole life and I’ve read that portion of scripture more than a dozen times. I don’t think I allowed the meaning to take root, until this recent situation in my family. It’s easy to read something in the Bible and say oh yea…that’s so nice but it goes in one ear and out the other. Or we only apply that portion of scripture to marriage. It makes a common appearance at most weddings, is shared in the majority of marriage counseling sessions, but we..I really just need to say I..rarely have applied it to everyday relationships other than marriage. Until now! I have stepped back and looked around at some of my relationships with various ones currently in my life, and when they say they love me, I know and I can tell they mean everything written in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. In regards to marriage, we say that love is a choice, not a feeling. So true but in EVERY relationship. We must choose to be patient and kind. We choose to not be jealous, boastful or proud. We choose to not be dishonoring or self-seeking. We choose to not be easily angered or offended. We choose to not keep a laundry list of wrong-doings. We choose to not delight in evil and we certainly choose truth. We choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere.
I am not saying by any means that any of this is easy, but it surely is a choice! A choice we intentionally make everyday. Could you imagine what our families, churches, workplaces, relationships and friendships would look like if we could get behind the true meaning of love?? There would be no more Facebook! lol! Seriously tho, it would radically change our relationships….all of them!
So the what’s the moral of the story? For me, the moral of the story is this..I can safely use 1 Corinthians as my guide for determining when someone says I love you, as well as judge my actions when I say I love someone.
I pray that today you will not only experience the genuine love of another but the true love of God!
Have a blessed Sunday friends!