February is the month of Love, with Valentine’s Day and all the pink/white frilly things everywhere. But love means more than a Hallmark card and some candy.
To the apostle Paul, love is rooted in the character and nature of the one loving...not in anything about the one being loved.
Love is first a decision and then an action. Love does not exist apart from action. In the original manuscripts, Paul uses verbs in 1 Corinthians 13, even though many of our modern translations turn them into adjectives. We might not always have warm feelings of love for others, but we are never to be confused about how love acts...or doesn’t act!
Here are some realities about love...
Love waits patiently...it has the ability to wait rather than force an outcome.
Love acts in kindness...it behaves towards others with generosity and gentleness.
Love does not bubble over with envy and does not brag, inflating its own importance.
Love doesn’t make itself the center of every conversation and everyone's attention.
Love’s fuse is very, very long, and its memory is very, very short.
Love does not gloat or take pleasure when things go wrong for people.
Love celebrates when the truth wins out over gossip.
Love does not stop supporting...it does not lose sight of the hoped-for outcome.
Love never gives up.
Love will be standing when everything else fails.
So...Do you know how to love?
Are you loving those around you today?
revised excerpt of Dr. Bill Dogterom, Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministries and Spiritual Formation at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA