I think every month should be the love month, not just February. Why do we go overboard and pour out love in all kinds of ways in one month on one particular day?
Love, one of the most powerful things in life, can also be the most difficult. It’s also the most fun when you get to really love people in the same way God loves us.
We all know the part of 1 Corinthians 13 that begins with “love is patient, love is kind,” but the verses just before that are just as important.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV).
Forget the how we are to love or the attributes of love, if we don’t have it to begin with we are nothing.
In the month of January, I have been looking at when and how I handle my love in different situations. Trying to understand what the other person could be going through helps. Without getting all psychological and deep, I just step outside my world and try to look at what theirs might be – what could be going on.
You can have full understanding in the home. That is where you live, breath, eat and sleep with those around you, and you usually understand most every situation better. You know more about what they struggle with and what concerns them. You can see how they feel and know them personally. Yes, living in close proximity with family all the time can make it tough to love at times, but having that bond should make it easier than outside the home.
I admit I don’t even understand my wife at all sometimes, but at home I can still love pretty easily.
You only have a partial understanding with most people in the workplace. For the most part it is not a very personal place. You only get to spend maybe a few minutes of personal time throughout the day. The curveball is that you are usually working under pressure or a performance environment, which can add stress. To me this environment requires the kind of love that takes more grace without understanding, which is tough. If someone in the workplace has a bad day, we don’t really know what is behind it. Most people don’t let down their personal guard, and you don’t get to know them with understanding.
On the road
When I’m driving, forget it. I have not learned how to turn on love in any way whatsoever. I have come to realize that I don’t understand other people on the road more than any other place. What it comes down to is understanding other people – seeing them the way God sees them: precious, created by him, loved by him and cherished by him in every way.
Maybe because you can’t see the other person in the car, you can’t even relate to him as a real person experiencing frustration. This makes it extremely hard to understand him. I have been doing a lot of driving lately and definitely focusing on loving others on the road. Why is it just so difficult? I put my love muscles in training this month on the road by placing a sticky note on my dash that reads Love Em! You know you need to put a reminder on your dash too.
I do believe we can work out our love muscles and make them stronger. Develop muscle memory for putting love in action. When my kids were little, I would always tell them to go and tell mom “I love you,” or “you look beautiful today,” or show her love by service or gifts. I did this way before they even knew what they were doing and how it affected her. My wife would always tell me “you told them to say that.” For a while I did, but then they learned what it meant, and it became natural for them. Now … they still do it. I was training their love muscles.
How we handle our love could be the most difficult thing to do in life, but it is just the most impactful thing on the planet.
When you love your spouse or family it may be easier because you have chosen to be around them and there is a strong bond that ties on love.
But when you are with strangers in a place you did not choose, how do you handle love?
When you are in a public place like the grocery store, how do you handle love?
When you are surrounded by coworkers and the pressure is on, how do you handle love?
When you are on the the playing field in sports, how do you handle love?
Love with understanding or without understanding, but do love others.