“Love” is thrown around like some ball that we can catch. Every time a happy emotion is thrown our way, we fall in love. We “love” gelato, we “love” the lady at our favorite shop who gives us her employee discount. We profess a love of so many things and people that we have forgotten what it means. It’s the cornerstone of our faith, and we are sooner to stare starry eyed at a dress we want than we are to look into the eyes of those who need us.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Love is not a flippant feeling that we can just toss around when it sounds right. Love is a debt that we can never fully repay. Love is both an obligation and a blessing.
Before my husband and I got together, we were both “in love” with other people. We gave a lot of ourselves to our significant others because college just seemed to be the right time to find a match. Before our relationship, at different points, we both thought we had a future with other people. We gave them our hearts, and we both got ours broken. But God, took us from these broken situations and brought us into a relationship that could remind us what love really means.
Since the day I let this man into my heart, I have suffered my greatest losses and most extreme heartaches. We have relied on faith to pay the bills because the bank account was empty. We have lost a baby. We have had brushes with illness and even a chance of death. Without our love, I may never have experienced these situations, but that is why what we have is love. I’m still here and so is he. Why? Because love doesn’t look like a magazine article or a kiss onscreen. Love looks like an embrace in a hospital ER when you find out the baby you’ve been growing in your stomach is gone. It’s knowing and seeing the flaws and choosing to work through them and grow together. LOVE. IS. WORK.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love isn’t found in fairytales or sappy, tv movies. Love is the strength it takes to know that the greatest act of your life is found in your death. It’s dying in the throws of extreme pain on a cross because each face in that angry mob means more to you than your own life. Christ’s sacrifice was and is love. This love is what every utterance and every feeling of love should be like.
Real, bonafide love requires us to let go. It requires putting others ahead of ourselves and even finding forgiveness in hurt. When we so quickly let love fall from our lips, we discount its power and the beauty of its true meaning. God loves us. Christ loves us. And that small word should mean just as much when it comes to us.
That doesn’t mean that love is without happiness. More often than not you see love in the best moments of the day. You find love in a conversation with a stranger. You see love at work in the ramblings of an excited toddler. Love has many pretty moments, but remaining strong in love when those extremely tough days come is what makes it real.
Love like God. Delight in others and see His work in their lives. When trial comes, draw together and let the difficulties solidify your compassion and affection. Real love is messy, sometimes terrifying, and downright hard. But the best and most worthwhile things are never easy.
Featured image by Kyle Johnson