Love. For such a little word, it sure has a bigger than life meaning. We think sometimes that love is a feeling. Love is an emotion. Love is an action. Love is a sacrifice. Love is a choice. Love is . . . the list goes on. In terms of action, we’re reminded that love is laying down our life for a friend. In the end of it all, we’re told to love each other as Christ loved the world. There are plenty of books, sermons, studies, etc. to help us understand this complicated little word of “love”, when it really shouldn’t be that complicated.
Even if you’re not well versed in Biblical scripture, you’ve probably heard reference to the “love passage” in 1 Corinthians. I’ve read it many times at different junctures in my life. It was instrumental in my relationship with my husband before we were married, it’s kept me grounded in the struggles of raising and homeschooling my children, and it’s given me guidance and encouragement in more situations than I can remember. Now, just in case you’re unfamiliar with the passage, I’ll quote it here:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 Corinthians 13:4-8a
One day, a couple of years ago, I was reading this passage and saw it from a different perspective. (Proof that no matter how many times you read (or watch, for that matter) something, you can always glean something new.) I noticed that the way the passage is worded, it tells me more of what love is NOT and little of what love IS. Of the sixteen attributes listed of love, only six of them are listed in the positive of what love actually IS or DOES. The other ten are written in the negative, what it is not or does not do. So, I decided to flip the focus and choose an antonym for all the nots, allowing me to focus on what LOVE IS. I came up with this:
- Calm/Even Tempered
- A Champion
I want to be able to focus on the things I AM supposed to be doing, not on the things I’m NOT supposed to be doing. It’s a subtle difference, but I believe it really does make a difference. Our world has become so negative and sarcastic and antagonistic and spiteful in word and deed so much of the time, I desperately needed to think about love from the perspective of what it IS and DOES, and for it to be negative-free. If we stop reprimanding ourselves of the “nots” and start focusing on what it “is”, perhaps we can actually be more successful at living out what Love Is.
I hope to create a sign for my home to remind us every day what Love Is. If I do, I’ll post a photo of it. Until then, may we all positively focus on living out what Love Is.