Happy Love Week! That’s what I like to call the week of Valentine’s Day. While we tend to make Valentine’s Day all about chocolate and candlelight dinners, love is so much more than tingly feelings and romance. In fact, I don’t think love is much about feelings at all. It’s about action. If I looked at video footage of you over the last week, I could tell you who and what you love by your actions. Where do you spend your time? Your money? Who have you forgiven – and against whom are you still holding a grudge? Who have you shown mercy or patience? Who have you been kind to?
We can feel all sorts of feelings, but feelings are fickle. It’s action that demonstrates our love. This principle is especially noteworthy when you are on the receiving end of that love. Case in point: Back in 2001, my mother had a massive brain aneurysm that led to emergency brain surgery, a two-month stint in the hospital and years of physical recovery. It was a time of transition, sadness and stress. But it was a pivotal moment in how I saw the people in our lives. There were my former co-workers, who visited my mother in the hospital religiously, even sending members from their church to pray for her. There were acquaintances from whom I expected nothing, who surprised me with homemade dinners, visits to the house to simply sit and be present. There were family members who boarded the first plane to Dallas or drove hundreds of miles within hours of her surgery – just to be there. And there were my mother’s co-workers, many of whom donated their days or weeks of their vacation time to make sure she would not miss a paycheck once she ran out of leave. So many donated leave that she had more than she could use. These were outpourings of love.
Some of these people who reached out didn’t even know my mother well. They would never have uttered the words, “I love you.” But there actions spoke love to us. There were others from whom I expected love and support, who didn’t visit, didn’t call and didn’t otherwise show in any tangible way. I don’t begrudge them, but it was a pivotal moment in how I viewed our relationship. What am I saying? Love is not simply felt. Love can be seen.
How do you love the people closest to you? I think of love much like faith. Without action, it is dead, being nothing more than a feeling or a word. Love is a decision, and it is not for the faint at heart. It is the most beautiful gift we can offer. And when we do, we should do it with passion and perseverance. We should do it to give of ourselves because that is what we choose to do – not because we want something in return. This week, as we celebrate love, reflect on its definition in 1 Corinthians 13 and ask yourself, “What kind of love do I give?” Do you give to get? Or do you give to give? That’s pure love. That’s God’s love.
1 Corinthian 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
Think of your three closest relationships. Over the past week, what actions did you take that demonstrated your love? What actions could you take this week? What aspect of this week’s column resonated most with you and why? Post your comments below. I would love to hear from you!