To quote Forest Gump, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” I feel like I’m in the same boat in discovering and sharing what healthy love is and what it is not. These actions do not equal love and respect even if they say they love you:
Love is when you….
- Don’t ridicule or criticize their efforts
- Don’t use the person for your own personal gratification
- Don’t lie or cheat
- Don’t belittle a person’s values or opinions
- Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
- Don’t prevent or discourage growth in a person
- Don’t intentionally hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally
- Don’t expect your needs to be met without concern for the other’s needs
- Don’t dismiss their ideas or feelings
- Don’t shame or call names
- Don’t withhold or withdraw from a person without explanation
- Don’t isolate the person
- Don’t minimize their problems or fears
Just a few that come to mind….
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
Jesus is the ultimate example. Love is not easy and love will get messy, just look at the cross. Love will take work, grace, and forgiveness. We will never get it perfect in our humanness, I know I haven’t. But, we can pray and ask Him to help us love in a way that pleases Him. We can ask forgiveness when we fail, and give it another shot. With Christ ALL things are possible. When our love tanks get low, refuel with the unfailing love of God and DON’T give up! If the love we offer is not received and/or returned, let them go. Letting them go is showing love for yourself and that is also VERY important. We can’t make someone love us but we are all worthy of love. Love never fails. DON’T forget that!