Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ode to Valentine's Day...or the Day After: On Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

Aaaah, the Day of Love has come and gone.  For some of us, it was filled with romance, roses and dinner by candlelight.  For others, a dagger in the heart, reminding them that they are still single- enjoying microwave dinners for one.  

But let me break the news to all you single people out there- Love is hard work...and you shouldn't get anywhere near it unless you are ready for the road of refinement.

With a 50% national divorce rate, and an even higher divorce rate among Christians- you wonder why so many people are so anxious to run off and get married with the first person they meet.  These days, the stakes are high in the game of love.   

On the other hand, for those who do it right- finding love can be the most amazing experience imaginable...granted you learn to pass through the fires of selflessness and humility and come face to face with the fact that deep down, you really are a jerk. 

But either way, one thing is certain- those who find good marriages aren't "lucky".  No, they are people who have really learned to love.

This passage on love is quoted in probably 90% of Christian weddings...but the reality is, after the wedding day, it's put on the shelf and left to gather dust.  If we could learn to do a fraction of what this passage asks of us our lives would be so much richer and our relationships would take on a whole new level of intimacy. 

I believe learning to love isn't something that is done only in the context of marriage.  Whether married, or waiting to be...challenge yourself to take a hard look at these questions and learn to love, to really love, the people in your life. 

Love is patient
  • Am I flexible with the people around me?  Do I make them feel more important than my schedule and my time? 
Love is kind
  • How many compliments do I give a day?  Do I encourage my spouse every day?  Do people leave my presence feeling better than before?
It does not envy
  • Do I find myself wanting what doesn't belong to me?  Do I rejoice in the victories of others? 
It does not boast, it is not proud
  • Am I in competition with the people around me?  Do I seek to build myself up?  Do I acknowledge the talents and gifts that have been given to me by God?
It does not dishonor others
  • Do I allow negativity and criticism to come out of my mouth?  Do my actions reflect a lack of warmth?  What do I allow myself to say about others in their presence or outside of their presence?
It is not self-seeking
  • Do I put my spouse/others before myself?  
It is not easily angered
  • What does it take to get me mad?  How do I handle my emotions?  How many times have I gotten angry this week? 
It keeps no record of wrongs
  • Have I learned to let go of my hurts?  Do I replay things over and over in my head?  Do I find myself bringing up past junk again and again?
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
  • Am I being completely honest with the ones I love?  Is there something I am omitting that I need to be open about?  Who am I when no one is looking?  Do I look at my own weaknesses or am I quick to point out the weaknesses of others?
It always protects
  • Are people safe with me?  Do I take care of those around me? Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Always trusts
  • Do I carry around insecurities or unforgiven sins that are inhibiting me to trust?  
Always hopes
  • Am I positive?  Do I hope for what is good?
Always perseveres
  • What would get me to the point of giving up? 
Love never fails
  • Am I committed to doing this no matter how long it takes or how difficult it gets?  Do I choose love?

As the old D.C. Talk song reminds us- Love is a verb It is something we have to choose to do, every day, whether or not our feelings lead the way.  For those of us who are married, let's not get too caught up in the chocolate, roses, and romance of Valentine's without taking a real hard look at the way we love each other every other day. 

For those of us who are single- it's never too early to begin learning to love the people in our lives...for how you learn to love the people in your life today will ultimately reflect how you will love in your future.

May God give us the strength to love.  To really love. 


  1. Having and maintaining love in a relationship takes a lot of hard work on both parties. It is one of the most rewarding jobs you will ever have, but without open communication and dual commitment, it will fail.
    I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two lovely children that I love dearly. I work daily to maintain that love relationship:)

  2. You are so right, Mary. Communication and commitment are key. God bless your love....and your family! Thanks for reading.


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