Love is a verb. It’s an action word. Not a feeling, not an emotion. A verb.
The biblical definition lists out things that love does and things that love does not.
Love does show patience, it does show kindness. It does rejoice with truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
Love does not show envy and it does not boast. Love is never arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it doesn’t keep a record of wrong, and it is not irritable or resentful.
I don’t often recommend books, but I have had the opportunity to meet Bob Goff and hear him speak a couple different times. He wrote a book called Love Does, and I have been reading it out loud to the boys. It’s pretty simple. Pretty obvious. And pretty amazing.
I have to admit that I have such a difficult time with love. I mean, I never really thought that I did because I have great relationships with my family, and with so many friends. I feel like I have an understanding of what love really is, and I absolutely know and feel the love God has for me.
But the reality of it is this. Love loves or love doesn’t. There is no in between. Either you are loving or you are not. The thing with the definition of love is it seems impossible. Absolutely impossible. How on earth can I possibly show patience, not show envy, never be rude or arrogant, not keep a record of wrong and never show irritability?! And also, what do you do about all the times people say they love you but don’t act it out. At all? Do you just keep loving?
I have realized a lot about myself in the last several months. I have been in the position (as recent as today) where someone who claimed to love me showed the opposite of what the Bible describes as love. And I have to admit, that I have a problem with not loving people who have hurt me. That looks ugly even typing out, but it’s the truth. I do hold a record of wrong. And when I do that? I feel like I am doing it to guard myself against these people hurting me again, and that gives me the justification I need. But in reality? It is not love. And if it’s not love, it’s the opposite of love. And that is sinful. And if I am not in the Spirit, I can not please God. And, if I am not pleasing God, then I am not going to receive blessing from God. See the progression? It’s ugly.
See the thing with love is…
Love does not wait for a response.
Love does, and then doesn’t even leave time for a response, because love is not about insisting on my own way. It’s thinking of someone else, and their way. It is not loving someone so I can get something in return. It is so hard to live in a way that is insistent on loving other people.
I don’t mean the people who are nice to you and appreciate everything you do. I also don’t even mean the poor, the orphans, the down and out. I mean the people you see in church every week. I mean the people you are acquaintances with or maybe even friends with. Those people. The ones who you have a sense are talking about you behind your back. The ones you know for a fact have talked about you behind your back. The ones who don’t share the same values and commitments as you do. Those ones. Those are the ones I am commanded to love. It’s not a suggestion. It’s not a if-you’re-in-the-mood-today kind of a deal. It’s a command.
It’s real life. It’s loving through hurt. Through misunderstandings. Through confusion. Through sadness. And it loving for the sheer fact that God commands it. With no questions asked. Just love. Just act. Love does things. It does acts that don’t make sense to even yourself. And I have to say. I can show love to a lot of people. I can even show love pretty easily to the teenagers who come to The Porch and never say thank you, complain about the free food we are giving them and then leave their trash for me to pick up. I truly feel and show love to them with no problem.
But those other people. It’s hard, dudes. I mean straight up, no other way to put it…hard
Like, so hard that I don’t want to do it. At all. I want to hold a record of wrong, because I feel like they deserve it. I don’t want to show patience and I certainly do not want to be kind. And whether my reasoning is because I have been hurt or not, it does not excuse me from my obligation. And you can’t fake love. Love does or it doesn’t. And when I choose to pick the doesn’t over the does, I am always in the wrong.
It is literally hurting my soul to type these words because I can feel my flesh bringing faces to my mind of people that I don’t feel deserve my love. And it is so wrong, but I really want to keep it real with you. This is real life. Loving people is painful sometimes. Literally. But we are commanded to do it. Not to say words. Not to send a card, or write an email. But to act. out. love.
To do. Like the word suggests as a verb. Love does.
So where are you with love tonight? Are you acting out love? Are you demonstrating the kind of love that God requires? Don’t forget. Love does or love doesn’t. You don’t get to pick a place in the middle. Love requires action. Requires it. So if you are not doing an action for a person? You are not demonstrating love to them. It’s as simple as that. And when you feel like it is impossible to love someone? That’s probably when you need to show it the very most.
Go show love. Do love. Be love. Act out love to everyone around you. Even when it hurts. Do it and then walk away. Because Love does not wait for a response.