What do you think of when you hear the word, love?
Love seems to be something that people have difficulty defining in their own words. And for me, that’s a problem. When I think about love, I don’t want to borrow the words others have used to describe love or define love or depict love.
Because sometimes, when something is heard too often, it loses its power to inspire. Unless you are able to take those words and make them your own by how you live them out for yourself. For a long time, that’s how I felt about the love passage in 1st Corinthians:
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
These words from Paul provide a pretty clear description of love, especially because it describes some of the actions that love involves. But I think because I’ve heard this at almost every wedding I’ve attended and I’ve heard it preached about so often, it lost its impact.
But as I have faced some difficulties and brokenness in my life and my marriage over the last year, love became a focal point for me.
God reminded me that love requires something of me. He reminded me that love is a choice; it is always a choice.
It is my choice to love others: my spouse, my children, my family, my friends, strangers on the street or in line at the grocery store.
Love is freely given to me by Jesus and therefore should be freely given to others by me.
With this in mind, let me ask you something. What does love look like to you? In other words what does love look like as you live out the moments of your life each day? For me, here is a picture of what love looks like to me.
Love is praying for the driver of the car that cuts you off in traffic rather than muttering angry words that may be peppered with profanities, and doing this for every. single. driver.
Love is staying with your spouse despite broken vows and broken hearts and seeking healing and counseling and new beginnings.
Love is sitting with a friend who is hurting, who is grieving, who is falling apart, and saying nothing but simply sitting beside her and holding her hand or crying with her or getting her a cup of cold water.
Love is standing by your friend who finally admits his addiction to drugs or drinking or pornography and who is hurting and breaking and hiding and who needs to know that he will not be abandoned or shamed or shunned because he is loved.
Love is extending grace to your spouse when you would rather point out every little thing he did all day long that did not meet your expectations or hurt your feelings.
Love is saying no to an overtime opportunity because your son has a baseball game or your daughter has a dance recital and you would rather be in the stands than sitting at your desk.
Love is stopping to help a fellow shopper reach an item on a high shelf or offering to return his cart to the store with yours or sharing your umbrella as you head to your cars when it is pouring down rain.
Love is kneeling down and looking your child in the eyes when she is crying and screaming and tantrumming because she is angry or scared or unable to process the world around her because she is a person with feelings and she needs someone to comfort her and listen to her.
Love is walking away from a boiling point moment when you want to feel explode with rage or righteousness or indignation to take a breather and provide a safe place for both of you to collect yourselves.
Love is inviting the homeless woman you’ve passed more times than you can count to lunch or dinner and conversing with her because she is created in the image of Jesus and she needs someone to hear her heart.
Love is sitting by a loved one as he slips out of your life and into the arms of Jesus.
Love is watching the young, single mother in front of you whose EBT card is declined and whose face is flushed with shame and whose baby is crying and stepping forward with a gentle smile paying for her groceries.
Love is asking a co-worker who too often sits alone at her desk if she wants to join you for lunch.
Love is thanking God for the small things when the big things feel out of your control.
Love is doing something instead of waiting for someone else to act. Love is doing something rather than nothing. Love is believing that what you do matters. Love is a thousand tiny gestures that you make throughout your day.
Love is believing that everyone is worthy of love and grace and kindness.
So, I’d love to hear from you: what does love look like to you?