There are many different definitions for the word love. The following are just a few.
As a noun:
- A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
- A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
- Beloved person or sweetheart
As a verb:
- To have affection for
- Take great pleasure in
- To embrace and kiss
- To benefit greatly from
In my experience, it seems everyone has a different idea as to what love looks like. We all want it or desire it. No, actually, we all need it, because we are all created to love and to be loved.
During the night of the last supper, Jesus gave his disciples a new command. This is a command to be followed by all believers in Christ, always and forever.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ~ John 13:34
The thought of loving one another, to me, sounds so simple. Of course I am to love everyone. Why would I not? Unfortunately, as I said earlier, everyone has a different idea what love looks like. This makes loving others go from being a simple task to being an almost impossible task.
The other difficulty is that as we grow, physically and emotionally, the way we see and expect love changes. When I was a child, love was being taken care of. I felt loved by my parents because they took care of me. I felt love from my teachers because they cared enough to teach me what I needed to know so I could go out into the world some day. I felt love from my friends because they spent their time with me doing fun things and exploring life.
Then, as I became a teenager, my definition of love changed. It was no longer a warm personal attachment I felt from those around me. This no longer satisfied me. I desired a special love to call my own and thought this was to be filled by a special someone.
I was always out looking for this special someone. Someone who would love me the way I needed to be loved, even though I didn’t quite know what that looked like. Someone who would accept me and the love I had to offer.
Today, being married and a mom, I see love differently. When my kids are happy, or content, and compliant I feel loved by them. When my husband helps me with life and/or spends time with me I feel loved by him. It’s sad, but when things don’t look like this, I feel unloved or that I have failed at giving love.
Because we have such high expectations of what love looks like, we often feel unloved. We tend to focus on the expectations that we are not receiving or feeling that we miss the love we are receiving. Then the person giving the love, that you didn’t notice, doesn’t get the reaction they were expecting and they now feel unloved.
Lets go back to the command given to us by Jesus in John 13:34
Jesus loved us first. He died for us. His love for us is greater than any love we can receive from anyone here on earth. Yet, he calls us to love each other. That makes me ask myself; How does Jesus love me?
Jesus gave all for me. He helps me with the Holy Spirit given to me as I chose to believe in Him. He offers me His grace and love each day, regardless of whether or not I deserve it. I receive His mercy by receiving His love when I deserve otherwise. He intercedes for me in prayer to God the Father.
Now I have the question; How do I love others the way He loves me? I can use the gifts given to me by God, simply to help, without expectations from them. I can give of my time and/or money to others when needed, without worrying about not having enough for my family and myself. When someone messes up or treats me in a way I feel is wrong, I can treat them with grace, not by judging them, but thinking about what they may be going through. I can pray for them, ask God to help them and give them His peace.
I believe that as we seek to have a relationship with God, He will fill us with all the love we could possibly need and enable us to love everyone around us. This love will ooze out to all those we come into contact with and it will be contagious. Remember, we are called to love, not judge. Judging, at times, seems easier and more natural, but it’s not what we are created to do.
I challenge you to pause when you feel the desire to judge, and call upon Jesus, and then let the Holy Spirit lead you. Let Jesus show you how He desires you to love. Beautiful things will happen, I believe it!
My prayer for us today ~ Lord Jesus, You care for us and offer your amazing love to us each day and for this we thank you. Lord, I pray you help us to see everyone we come in contact with through your eyes and give us the desire to love them the way you love them, Amen.