Today is Valentine’s Day. Or “Singles Awareness Day” if you’re tired of the mushy-gushy talk. We’ve made a holiday out of love, and Americans will spend MILLIONS of dollars today on flowers, chocolate, balloons, cards, and dinner to celebrate how much they love someone.
But what, pray tell, does it mean to love someone? We have been told that to love someone is to feel warm and fuzzy for them. It’s being twitterpated. Having affectionate feelings or getting lightheaded in the presence of another. Not being able to control your emotions for them.
Really? That’s not God’s definition of what love is. Check His definition of what it means to love someone:
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ” (1 Corinthians 13:1–7, NAS)
Look at what Paul says biblical love is.
- It’s patient. Love = patience. How patient are you with those around you, especially those closest to you?
- It’s kind and not jealous. Biblical love doesn’t demand all of the attention of the loved one.
- It does not brag and is not jealous. How much Valentine’s Day celebratory work is done to show others how much we love our significant other or to keep them close to us so no one else takes them?
- It does not act unbecomingly. Love doesn’t make an idiot of itself or act in ways that belittle or shame the loved one if they don’t live up to the love given.
- It does not seek its own. Simply put, love looks out for others at its own expense. It is other-serving, not self-serving.
- It is not provoked. Love can’t be goaded into getting angry and calling the whole thing off.
- It does not take into account a wrong suffered. In other words, love is unconditional. It’s not give and take, it’s give and give.
- It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Biblical love never okays offending God. Instead true biblical love is grounded in and flows from the truth of God.
So with God’s definition in mind, how are you doing this Love Day? Biblical love is not an emotion; it’s an action and a way of life. How can you shine a little love into the life of those around you, whether the relationship is romantic or not? And what part of the definition of love can use the most work in your own life?