To be honest, I’m not really sure I know the answer.
It’s something that I wrestle with constantly. Love is somehow contained in a four letter word in the English language. But definitions, interpretations, and motivations give the concept a lot heavier feel than simply saying the word out loud.
I know I say an awful lot how often I loved others for how it made me feel. I expressed myself in a way that was very demonstrable. I liked knowing that others knew I showed off in big or creative ways. But does acknowledging that out loud keep me from living with that same prideful spirit? Do I really separate myself from my past or do I find a level of comfort of distancing myself from feelings that I still cling to?
I talk about how the revival of my soul has changed my entire outlook on the Bible. That meeting Jesus almost thirty years into life after growing up in church as drawn me to real change. And I know I don’t lie when I say that. But I wrestle with how that translates into how I serve those around me. I believe the greatest act of love to ever be displayed was God’s son Jesus taking my blame on the cross. Where does my service come into my story? While I don’t think that love is always that drastic, I believe that there is a personal cost to that kind of investment. Investing in another parts of myself. I wonder if what I have is true.
Do I love you enough to be truthful and still gentle?
Do I love you enough to hold you accountable? About how I let you treat me? To call you out when the spirit calls me to?
Do I love you past emotion? Am I a slave to circumstance or do I intentionally regard you with a heart that is patient, kind, gentle, and with self control?
Do I love you in a way that speaks encouraging words and inspires love towards others? If we disagree, do I still seek to do so peaceably? When I’m wrong, do I humbly seek forgiveness? Do I freely give it even when you don’t ask?
Do I love you enough to get out of my own way? Do try to take the time to see things from your perspective? Can I speak to you without thinking about what the situation can do for me?
Do I love you enough to let you go?
Do I provoke you in Godly works?
Do I stay put when you need it?
Do I give you room to grow?
Do I celebrate you? Do I realize that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made and do I let you know that I do?
I wonder if I really appreciate the God given chance to know you. The opportunity to see how exactly my life can serve, cherish, and compliment yours and not in what way your life can accentuate the details in mine.
I don’t look to ever have these questions fully answered. I think when I find myself prayerfully striving to find myself loving well in the story that God let me be a part of is where I’m growing into a man whose love is meaningful.