What is love? Chili fries? Reading a good book on a rainy Saturday afternoon? Snuggling with your cat?
Whatever your concept of love, I want you to remember that come this Valentine’s Day the meaning of love is far more than chocolates and roses from your significant other; it’s about your relationships with everyone.
First century Greeks had about four different words for love. In Japan, physical touch outside of the home is considered “taboo”, but in France, public displays of affection are far more common. In America, we’re the boiling pot that accepts everything and discourages nothing. However, we only have one word for love.
Love, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” This is a stark contrast to the Greek’s brotherly love (phileo), Godly love (agape) and parental love (storge).
While brotherly love and parental love stress deepening relationships and fostering the person as a whole, it seems like North American love is focused on the passion found between a couple.
I grew up like any average teenage girl; boy crazy and giggly. As dreams of love notes in my lockers turned into attending college and even getting a doctorate degree, I realized I wanted more than the physical.
It came down to a relationship-defining principle. At the end of the day, physical fades; flowers die; and chocolate will go right to your thighs. But trust, withstanding expectations and respect are stone foundations upon which few will crumble.
It’s the idea of truly pouring into someone instead of satisfying ourselves, again, with the instant gratification that is not only accepted but promoted here in the United States.
Take the apostle Paul, for example. Not wanting to marry because he knew it would take him away from his God-given purpose, he “prayed without ceasing” and showered his disciples in rebuke, challenges and demands for change.
“I thank God in all my remembrance for you,” he said in Philippians chapter one, verse three. Paul continues in verse seven with, “It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. For God is my witness, I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
He thanked God for them! He held them in his heart! I want you to ask yourself; is that where you hold your French fries and your cat? Is that where you put your car or the physical features of your significant other?
If it is, friend, I challenge you to redefine love this Valentine’s Day. I challenge you to take it from the commercialized misunderstanding it is to a daily labor that goes beyond over booked restaurants and Nicholas Sparks movies.
The people you have around you are gifts in and of themselves. Do they need gifts a few times a year, or a little bit of love every day?