Sometimes it all becomes a little bit fuzzy...much like the picture to the left of this column. It is evident that there are hearts in the picture, but they are out of focus and blurry. In our culture it is easy for "love" to become distorted as well. We can easily make a list of what we love: spouse, mocha frappes, our faithful four legged friends, pepperoni pizza, and Jesus. Is it really possible or appropriate to put all the above in the same "love" category? English seems to limit any gradation of emotions when it comes to this very significant word in our vocabulary. We try to express the depths of our emotions, but the one single word "love." seems so ...well, monosyllabic...We really do need some sort of standard to raise the bar and clearly define the "love" that fills our heart for God and people as opposed to fashions and fads. Perhaps, the clearest word-picture given of "love" is found in I Corinthians, Chapter 13, of the Holy Bible. In fact, this portion of scripture is known as the "love chapter."
From the Amplified Bible: "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. 5 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 way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of evil done to it--pays no attention to suffering a wrong. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fade-less under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening] 8 Love never fails--never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. ...13 And so faith, hope and love abide; [faith, conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love, true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us] these three, but the greatest of these is love...
Can you see the heart of love more clearly through this description? Looks incredibly like Jesus, himself, doesn't it? Remember, Jesus is God and GOD IS LOVE! (I John 4:8)
On this special day that we demonstrate "love," let us double our efforts to love not only in deed, but in Spirit and Truth.