I've been challenged lately in my approach to love. One thing I've noticed as I work more places and meet more people at school is that people do not expect you to love them. Everyone expects you to love yourself, and most would desire respect and acknowledgement, but love? That’s asking a little too much. It’s a natural tendency to only love when you expect it to be returned. So if someone isn't interested in you, close to you, or benefiting from you why should they love you, or vice versa?

As people challenge my theology, beliefs, and views I have been reminded of how much Christianity depends on love. I constantly fail at being a Christian. There are many areas in which I fall short… okay, practically all of them… alright, I actually fail at all of them... but most importantly I've discovered how desperately I need to love, truly love, more. In 1 Corinthians we have the “love chapter”, probably one of the better known verses/chapters out there. But do I actually practice it?

  • How often do I speak without love, just adding pointless noise? If I truly only spoke in love, I would talk a lot less.
  • How many times do I pursue knowledge as more valuable than love? Is my focus on my education, my mental abilities, knowing the facts, or having the answers, more than it is on the souls that surround me every day?
  • Do I see myself as nothing, even with fantastic faith and works, if I do not have love? Very often I want to do great things, fantastic things, purposeful things… but in themselves these give my life no value.
  • Would even material and physical sacrifices be worthless if I do not give in love? Giving feels good, but too often I give to feel.

So many of us are out there trying to do important and powerful things. We all want to make a difference. If we have the right argument someone’s mind may change, if we say something loud enough someone might hear, if we go enough places someone will see, if we do something drastic maybe people will understand, be impressed, take notice, or be inspired. But that isn't love. All of that is just worthless, purposeless garbage unless I truly take Philippians 2, and in humility, having love, see those around me as of greater importance than myself.

There’s a quote in the movie Frozen that the snowman says as he almost sacrificially dies to help the protagonist; he says, “Some people are worth melting for.” Now as someone who believes that God created each and every human being on this planet, I must believe that EVERY person is worth melting for. Very few people are easy to love but everyone is worth love.

Love isn't red hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, careless bliss or sweet security. Love comes with no guarantees for happiness.

To love is to be broken. I actually like the terms “falling in love” and “brokenhearted”. Not because I enjoy them, but because I think they’re right… love hurts. There’s this image in my mind of falling in love; it doesn't land in a cloud. Rather it falls sharply on a hard surface and shatters me into tiny pieces. I've noticed that every time I love someone, truly love them, my heart breaks; sometimes only a little and at other times it breaks a whole lot.

  • Love is patient. Oh, just put a dagger through my heart right there. Waiting. Peacefully waiting, sometimes without results. There is no schedule with love. It doesn't run promptly or on our terms. Love waits.
  • Love is kind. Love is gentle and helpful to others, having goodwill for them.
  • Love does not envy. There is no selfish ambition. It’s not a comparison or competition. Love is not about wants.
  • Love does not boast. It does not build myself up. Love is not a pedestal that makes me look good.
  • Love is not arrogant. This is not about my accomplishments, skills, or abilities. Love is not about me.
  • Love is not rude. It is respectful, considerate and polite. Love does not offend.
  • Love does not insist on its own way. Personally, this one really hurts. Let go. Love puts others first. It’s flexible, adjustable, and accommodating.
  • Love is not irritable. It doesn't get angry or easily annoyed.
  • Love is not resentful. It does not get upset, holding things against others in unfair situations.
  • Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing. There is no delight in seeing or doing anything that isn't right. Love takes no pleasure in sin.
  • Love rejoices with the truth. The real state of affairs may not be what I like, but love is joyful in it. Love takes things as they really are.
  • Love bears all things. It carries the weight of all situations, every attitude, each pain and circumstance.
  • Love believes all things. It is confident and doesn't waver in the truth.
  • Love hopes all things. It looks forward to the future. Love confidently desires what is to come.
  • Love endures all things. It holds firm, is steadfast and pushes through. Love survives through all circumstances.

No wonder people don't expect to receive love, true love, from others. It hurts, disappoints, and gets taken advantage of. It’s selfless and sacrificial.

The more I love, the more I break. It is a natural side effect of loving others, I fall apart. I can’t love perfectly, fearlessly, the way this chapter describes, it’s impossible. But that’s okay because I want God to have control of my life. He can’t heal what isn't broken and He can’t run what is already functioning. By allowing myself to break, I let God rebuild me and pour His perfect love out through me. Without love, I am in control, and am useless. Without love, I won’t surrender and let God use me. Love is the standard that exposes my flaws, my shortfalls, my scars. It shows the true me. My love can't fix, heal, or help. Most importantly, my brokenness shows my true God. His love fixes. His love heals. For my God is love.

Published by Naylen Feria