What is love? What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to love my family, my friends, my girlfriend/boyfriend, or even a stranger, a neighbor? What does love feel like? What does it feel like to love someone deeply? Is love a feeling in the first place? And why should I care to love? Why does it matter?
At one point in my life, I found myself asking some of the above questions if not all. They are questions most of us ask not loudly but in our minds. I know to most of us loving someone is not a big deal, someone that we are close to, say, your sister/brother/mother/father/close relative, it just comes without saying, there is a blood thing that connects you. But what about your neighbor, that annoying friend of yours, that stubborn matatu conductor, that business partner who does not respect you, the colleague who always gets into your nerves, the classmate who makes you feel a nobody, how about your best friend who betrayed you. Is it possible to love them? And if at all it was possible, where do you begin? I mean, we are humans, we have feelings, we get hurt. There are some people we would wish them completely out of our lives, if we had powers, we would eliminate some of the people around us. We are all surrounded by people, people like you and me, people that we are supposed to love. You will bear me witness that no matter where you go you will always be bounded by people. People of all kinds, of all ages, some love you and others are haters. So what then, how should I live with those that are around me since I can’t get rid of them.
To answer that, allow me to get some reference from the word of God. Paul, in the book of 1st Corinthians 13, speaks about the greatest gift which is LOVE. I have read this passage several times, I have heard teachers of the word teach about it and am sure you might have heard it too. To be sincere, the first time I read these scriptures I told myself that it was impossible to do all these things, to love like Paul describes.
We tend to esteem other gifts like speaking in tongues, prophecy and forget that love should be at the center of all those things we do in the name of Christ and spreading the gospel. ‘Though I understand all the mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am NOTHING’, Paul says. This means that it is only love that can give what we do a meaning and value. No amount of good deed can take the place of love.
In verse 4 through verse 8, Apostle Paul describes what real love looks like, and as I highlight some of these values/qualities of love, I want you to search yourself and see if you fulfill them.
Love suffers long/it is patient-am I patient with the people around me?
Love is kind-do I show any kindness to other people?
Love does not envy- in what ways have I envied people around me?
Love does not parade itself/does not boast- do I boast in my abilities or in other things?
Love is not puffed up/it is not proud- in what ways have I portrayed pride?
Love does not behave rudely/dishonor others- am I rude to people?
Love does not seek its own/self-seeking- are my intents right in whatever I do?
Love is not provoked/it is not easily angered-do I get angry so easily with the people around me?
Love does not think any evil/does not keep a record of wrongs-do I forgive and forget or do I keep recounting the number of times someone has wronged me?
Love does not rejoice in iniquity- what is the state of my heart when I sin or when I watch others stumble?
Love rejoices in truth- do I value truth? Am I sincere in all I do?
Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, hopes all things and LOVE NEVER FAILS.
In conclusion, love is not a feeling; it is much deeper than our emotions can go. It travels past our friendship levels. It goes beyond what we think or imagine and unless we do it the way God wants us to, we will miss it. Above all, love is not an option, we don’t have a choice to make, we have to love or else all we do will be meaningless. Let us be keen to do all that God instructs us to do in His word and at the center of our actions, let there be love. James 2:10 ‘for whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all’. Let us not show any partiality in love. Let us love everyone as Christ loved us even unto laying down His own life for our sake.
I LOVE YOU!!!