Few phrases have as much power to destroy or lift up as those three words have.
I love you. There is real power there. Power to unite. God’s power. The power to create something meaningful and lasting.
What Is Love?
1 Corinthians 13 tells us a little bit about God’s standard for love. Of note are verses 4-8.
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
The most important part of that is verse 8. Love never fails. While all other things (prophecies, tongues, knowledge) fail, cease, or pass away, love is there. Always and forever. This is a high standard for love. It isn’t to be considered lightly, it isn’t to be spoken of off-hand, and it is not to be abused.
Who To Love
We are to love our enemies, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, ourselves, and most importantly God. In this world, this sort of true love is hard to come by. Generally it is given out with great reserve. I’m not surprised, really. The world is a hurtful, hateful, sinful place.
It’s hard to love those that hate you. It’s hard to love those that you don’t know. It’s hard to love those we do know! It’s hard to let yourself fall back in love, or even express that fully, when you’ve been hurt (recently or a lot). It’s hard to let yourself love because of fear. Fear or rejection, fear of not being
good enough. Fear of one more attempt at commitment not lasting. Fear of being wrong. I speak to you from personal experience here. Fear. Thoughts of giving up this fear and stepping out in faith on this issue alone is the cause of much shortness of breath and uncertainty.
God gives us extremely high expectations in this area. Freakishly high expectations. But they are not insurmountable and are very attainable. Just take His hand after you ask for help. He’s waiting.