I always squirm when people speak about falling in love because when we fall *in* something, we can fall *out* of it too. And falling out of love — as I am sure you can attest — can have some terrible repercussions, the least of which is heartbreak. So, what do we do? Stop falling in love? That is as likely to happen as it is for the sun to stop shining, so that isn't the solution. The solution is to make love more than just a feeling; we need to make it a choice we exercise every day. We have to *choose* to accept, understand, forgive, respect, serve, support, be faithful, and be kind to our partner daily.
When Scripture speaks about love, it doesn't define it as a warm, fuzzy feeling (although, yes, it can be that). It defines love in terms of characteristics. Consider, for instance, what Paul writes: "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" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Scripture also speaks about love as a word of action. A scene in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” illustrates this beautifully. The hero of a movie, a Jewish patriarch named Tevye asks his wife Golda if she loves him. Actually, he sings it because this is a musical. “Do you love me?” I’m sure he is expecting her to say: Of course I love you, my omchy pomchy, sugar candy baby. Instead she says — no, sings — For 25 years I’ve washed your clothes, I’ve cooked your meals, I’ve cleaned the house, I’ve given you children, I’ve milked the cow! If that’s not love, what is?
Precisely! Scripture agrees. In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives 30 commands to love in 13 verses. He writes — and it’s all self-explanatory: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
That’s love in action! None of it is easy — unless we are connected to Jesus Christ. Then we can receive his love which he pours out in abundant measure, and in turn pour it out upon others. Let us choose to do that today. Let us choose to love.
God bless you.