I just started reading a book I’ve had on my bookshelf for many months. It’s called Choose Love: The 3 Simple Choices That Will Alter the Course of Your Life by Stormie Omartian. While I’m not very far into the book, I know I’ll like it. I say that because I’ve never read a book by Stormie Omartian that I didn’t like. And I love the title. Choose Love.
Can you imagine… really imagine… how different our world would be if every single person living on this earth chose love? Just sit and think on that for a while.
What is love? I think the best answer to this question is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
4 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Good News Translation (GNT).
Here is the same passage found in a different translation, The Message (I love it!):
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 The Message (MSG)
When I was in college, I took a sociology course called Marriage and Family. One of our assignments was to read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 in the Bible and rewrite them in our own words. I thought that assignment would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong! Talk about writer’s block! It ended up being one of the toughest homework assignments from a professor in my entire 4 years of college. No kidding. It was also one of the most meaningful. And it was one I will never forget, that’s for sure. Doing that assignment sincerely got me thinking about the true meaning of love. I put a lot of thought into that homework and somewhere tucked away in a drawer, I still have the assignment written on the piece of notebook paper with the two-word comment the teacher wrote on it in red ink. Very good. It’s wrinkled and perhaps a little yellowed and the ink is faded, but it’s one I won’t throw away.
I’ve always considered myself to be a loving person but in all honesty, after reading that passage, I realize I have a l-o-n-g way to go! God gave me such an example of love by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. I know too often I take that love for granted.
God is love and he wants us to share that love.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 New International Version (NIV)
I think of how I can’t turn on the news these days without hearing all kinds of bad things happening in the world. The Orlando mass shootings. School shootings. Rapes. Robberies. Beatings. Kidnappings. It’s depressing to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news. And then I think about how there would be much less bad news to report on if every single person living on this planet chose to love. If only we would ALL choose love, gain a deeper understanding of it, model it, and pass it along to others. We’d be so much better off. It just sounds so simple doesn’t it?
Some parting words of wisdom:
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)
So… I’m looking forward to reading this book. I pray that I can show love in every situation I face– good or bad, that my heart and mind will be so full of love that it continuously will spill out to others, and that I will always speak words of love that seek to lift others up and glorify God. I pray to have a spirit of love in my everyday life and especially in my blog writing. I pray I will gain a much better understanding of what love is but also of what love is not. Above all, I pray to be constantly reminded that love will always be more powerful than hate and that in the end, love. will. win.