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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Recent Reflections - February 2019: Love Is...

This is the second Recent Reflections post of 2019.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on what love is.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I decided that I would choose love as my topic for reflecting this month.  I got thinking about this question: "What is love?"  My mind went to the passage in I Corinthians 13, especially verses 4 through 8a.  The verses read:
"4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth:"
There are a lot of great words/concepts in that passage, but sometimes we struggle to understand exactly what those words mean, especially children, so I decided that I would break down this passage verse by verse and expound on it like I do with my children when they struggle to understand a concept.

First, charity.  Charity, according to Webster's 1828 Dictionary means:
"In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow man, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men." 

Charity is basically love in action.
It isn't just talk - it is doing deeds that match the words.

Now, let's break down what love is and isn't with examples for further clarity.

Love {in action} suffers long or is patient...
Love is the parent who is still smiling and kind when dealing with a small child who has asked the same question a million times.  Love is caring for a parent with Alzheimer's and not getting angry with they share the same story ten times in the same day.

Love {in action} is kind...
Love is the child offering up her pennies to her parents when she finds out they are struggling financially, hoping to help in her own, small way.  Love is making a meal for someone who is down on their luck.

Love {in action} doesn't envy...
Love is the man who sincerely congratulates the coworker who gets the promotion over him, even though he's been there longer than his coworker and others think he should have gotten the promotion, because he is truly happy for his coworker and realizes there will be other opportunities for advancement, and he's content where he is.  Love is being happy for those who have more without feeling sorry for yourself for  not having as much.

Love {in action} vaunts not itself or doesn't brag...
Love is the person who works behind the scenes cleaning the church that no one knows about because he is cleaning for the Lord, not for man's praise.  Love doesn't go around telling everyone how wonderful you are or how much you have.

Love {in action} is not puffed up or isn't proud...
Love is the person who is always letting others go first or never making sure she gets credit for what she does, and no job is beneath her.  Love is humble.

Love {in action} does not behave itself unseemly or is not rude...
Love is the person who is kind to those less fortunate or to those who are his enemies.  Love does not have a "me first" attitude.

Love {in action} seeks not her own or is not selfish...
Love is the child who shares his lunch with the other child who has none or who gives his balloon away to the child who has none.  Love is selfless and is shown by putting yourself last.

Love {in action} is not easily provoked or is not easily angered...
Love is the teacher who deals with an unruly class without raising her voice, and by calmly reminding her students of the class rules.  Love is not easily offended.

Love {in action} thinks no evil or assumes the best of people...
Love is the woman who finds her keys are not where she left them, but assumes she didn't leave them where she thought she did vs. blaming the nearest person for stealing them.  Love doesn't go around plotting against people.

Love {in action} rejoices not in iniquity or doesn't rejoice when others fail or face hardship...
Love is the student comforts the classmate whose parents just got a divorce even though that classmate is mean to them sometimes.  Love never delights in bad news.

Love {in action} rejoices in the truth or finds joy in honesty...
Love is the parents who are grateful when their child confesses to wrong doing vs. lying about it.  Love always tells the truth.

Love {in action} bears all things or endures any hardship...
Love is the couple who has been through tragedy and sticks together through it all, growing stronger vs. weaker.  Love can bear any burden.

Love {in action} believes all things or believes in people...
Love is the teacher who calls on the worst student in class whose hand is raised to give her a chance to prove that she can do the complicated problem vs. ignoring her and assuming she can't possibly know the right answer.  Love has a "you can do it" attitude.

Love {in action} hopes all things or keeps hope alive...
Love is the teammate who chooses to be optimistic when things look bleak and encourages the team to try their best until the end and cheers louder than anyone the rest of the game.  Love is the greatest cheerleader and never gives up.
Love {in action} endures all things or keeps on keeping on...
Love is the person who faces a hardship but keeps moving forward, doing the best he can, come what may, or the person who refuses to give up on his friend who keeps making mistakes and asking for forgiveness.  Love keeps moving forward and doesn't dwell on the past.

Love {in action} never fails or ends...
Love is shown best by God - He will love us for all time and sent His Son to die for us, and He is always there for us no matter what.  Love is eternal.

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart, or at the least made you stop and think a little.  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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