“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…..you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matt. 22:37,39
It is so easy to say, “I love you”. It is a good thing to tell others that we love them, but do we always understand what we are saying? Most parents would readily argue that they love their children. Love, however, is not just a feeling. Love is something you do.
I Corinthians 13 provides a list of qualities of love. Love is patient, kind, suffers long, and doesn’t have to have its own way. Love does not envy and does not behave rudely. Love doesn’t rejoice when something bad happens, but love rejoices in the truth.
How many parents are truly patient with their children? Do parents always have to have their own way, or can they listen to the child’s side of a situation and sometimes admit that maybe the child is right? Do we show good manners with our children? Most would hesitate before yelling at another adult yet would yell at their children. Isn’t that being rude? If we say we love our children and yet do not practice the qualities of love, aren’t we telling them something that is not true? How confusing this must be to a child who is told that he/she is loved, yet at church hears the qualities of love and knows that those qualities are not present at home.
Since we are told to love God, the same qualities apply in our actions toward Him. Are we patient with Him when we don’t get an answer to our prayers right away? Are we willing to suffer for Him? Do we always pray for things to happen in our own way, or are we willing to admit that He knows what is best for us? What level of love do we really have for God?
Jesus made it clear that the most important commandments deal with love for God and man. The Ten Commandments are summed up in love of God and love of man; yet, how much emphasis is placed on these important commandments? It seems that it would be wise for us to emphasize the thing that Jesus said was most important.
What is love for our children? It may be turning off the TV or putting down the cell phone to listen to a child. It is speaking to a child in a respectful tone of voice. It is getting up in the middle of the night to sit by a sick child. It is kneeling beside the bed listening to a child’s prayers. It is feeling sad with the child when something goes wrong. It is protecting and providing shelter for the child. It is being tough enough to correct a child when needed, yet making sure the child knows it is for his/her own benefit.
God showed His love by sending His son to die. Jesus showed His love for us by hanging on the cross. How do we show our love?