We throw the word love around a lot. We love food. We love books. We love clothes. We love our pets. We love our children. We love our spouses. We love our jobs. We love our houses. We love God. Read through those things again. Do you really feel the same way about your clothes as you feel about your children? I hope not. So we realize that there are different types of love (we also realize that we need to expand our vocabularies so we don’t have to use the same words to express different things). Today. I’d like to focus on the love that exists between human beings, not the ‘love’ between you and the inanimate, or even your pets.

Here too the word is used rather loosely. We say we love, but our behavior towards and treatment of others contradict us time and again. We make it about the occasional gift, the occasional gesture, surface conversations, going out every now and then, and routine “I love you”s.

Let’s visit a source that is older than us all for some words of wisdom on the matter at hand.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Read them again please. If you had to assess all your relationships based on these criteria, would you pass the love test? How safe do others feel in your love? How about you? How safe do you feel? If your relationships are important to you and you would rather not contradict yourself daily, memorize these words, place them somewhere you’ll see them daily, and use them as the yardstick with which you measure your interactions. After all we are also told:

1 Corinthians 16:14

Do everything in love.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Colossians 3:14

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

How will be able to do any of this if we don’t know how to love? Is it any wonder that our loved ones feel unloved?

We all have some hard work to do, but if we all do the hard work can you just imagine the results? Yup, real love. I’d say that’s worth it. Let’s get cracking.