“Love is very patient, and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud.”
2 Corinthians 13:4
It was written in lipstick or maybe a pink window marker:
It was probably penned by a friend, a parent, or a sweetheart before this young lady headed off to work. Of course nothing is ever as it appears. That is so true when the Lord is working on your heart too. That simple word: love reveals, like a rose or an ogre(as Shrek reminds us) it has layers.
I don’t know if it is too early in this blog to apologize or not, but I will. I just have a feeling that this might be a subject that needs a little more time to really appreciate. So, for at least a few more entries we might be looking at some of love’s layers.
Today the word love, at least in the English language, is too simplified. You can love your sandwich, your friend, or your lover. Somehow in the grand scheme of things I think that one word does some injustice to other objects of our affections. There could be more thought not into how we translate the word and how we treat the love in each distinct situation. I think some of the issues we have with marriage, or how to care for strangers on the street could be cleared up if we knew what kind of layer of love to use.
The Greek language was used when the Paul wrote his letters to the early churches. Most folks were well aware that the word love had a different meaning depending on your setting. There was philos, which is brotherly love while the sexual intimacy is eros which is where we get the word erotic from. Can you see how these two uses of the word fit certain circumstances? There are things you can say in love while being intimate with your husband or wife that you would never think of saying to a close friend.
Could this be a place where society has crossed line by misinterpreting the meaning of one little word?
In the Greek there are five uses of the word love: Mania, eros, philos, storgy, agapeo. You might have seen them in other forms, which we will discuss later, but they are all rooted in love.
I hope to investigate each one of these and how we can learn to treat each word with the meaning they each possess. It is sort of like learning a new word and using it without really knowing its usage. I did that as a child just to appear smart. However, when it comes to a powerful misunderstood word like this one, it is better to think before one speaks.
Can we go back to the young girl in the heart-mobile?
As I was following the driver we both had to slow. The truck with the…okay, the sticker looks like a zombie hand…okay, was driving under the speed limit. I felt like the girl had put a target on herself with those two words. How was love going to act when unfair and impatient things swerve and hinder her progress? What kind of action would love do there? Will the owner of the love mobile blow kisses as she passes as an expression of her love? Could she be kind and brotherly while she passes him by? Who knows? However, there is a fitting way to love strangers as well as friends, or GASP as Jesus said, your enemies too. I sort of think that covers everybody.
I did think of that DC Talk song that says that love is a verb. It means action, choices, and not always feelings. Emotions and love are close but you can’t always depend on them. Sometimes love is getting up out of a funk and listen to someone else’s problems. It could be practicing patience with the person who can’t stop talking. Love sits when it wants to run and hide.
Love does not always have words but when they do, they can meet many different kinds of needs. It might mean speaking words of correction when someone has done something wrong. However, the same hands that shook in anger can be the same ones to embrace the offended in repentance and love.
See? It’s a simple word on the surface only. If you truly want to know love, you gotta dig.
Jesus picked the most powerful human word to describe God. That word changed the course of history, one person at a time. It is something we hold in the watercolor version with the colors streaking together. The Lord is holding a masterpiece version of it in a straight-out exchange. It sounds simple but like the word God, its meaning is rich in depth, wide in potential, and as far as anyone knows has no boundaries.