Several months after Vickie’s death, I was visiting with a friend of mine for lunch. He asked, “Do you think that you will be able to love someone like that again?” It wasn’t a heartless question, for with the question, he reinforced it with a story about himself. He was a man my age and had never married. In college he had dated a beautiful young lady who very much wanted to marry him. The more she pushed the more it pushed him away. Finally, she stopped dating him and found someone else. He said, “I have never found anyone that I loved as much.”
There is no doubt in my mind that my love for Vickie was greater on the day of her death than it even was on the day that we got married. Would I even want to put myself in a position of losing someone that I love again? To love at all is to be vulnerable. To love anything, we run the risk of being hurt. Don’t want to be hurt? Don’t give our hearts to anyone or anything. And our heart will never be broken. But they will also be as empty as the man, with whom I sat at the table.
Valentine’s Day is a time of love. When we talk of love, we talk of love in a mystical sense. Unpredictable. Randomly. In scripture God talks about three type of love.
The love of God for people. JOH 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son….
The love of people for God. DEU 6:5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
And the love of humanity for humanity. MAT 22:39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.
But isn’t it interesting that the place that talks the most about love is in Corinthians?
A young man once asked, “Why is it that when the church speaks about love it is always on the topic of marriage?” Good question! For the Church, love is a part of a long-term and public commitment. Even in marriage, love does not exist apart from commitment. However, the interesting twist to this story is that while this passage of Corinthians is often used at marriages, the 13th Chapter of First Corinthians was not written for marriage, but for the Church. Not just any Church, a conflicted Church. A Church that was fighting, didn’t know how to get alone. A Church that was at odds with each other spiritually. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
That which separates us from our enemies is our ability to love. There is nothing mystical about love, it is hard work. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.
My natural mother died just as I turned 18. I was just beginning my Senior year of High School. Who was I to live with? My older brother & sister’s marriages were rocky. My natural father never even offered. We had lived a very conflicted existence, our values were so very different. And he had refused to have anything to do with me since I refused to lie for him in the divorce settlement. Now a few years later the news is out, I may be adopted by the McConnell family. A real home, with a mom and a dad that want me. It is my birthday and I am at my aunts home helping her with her garden. My natural father comes and give me a birthday card with some money inside. It is signed “Love, Dad.” If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Never had he given me a birthday gift before. Never had he given me a Christmas gift. Never had he told me that he loved me. THIS IS EMPTY, THERE IS NO LOVE!
A young girl starving to hear the words, “I love you,” finds it in a young man who really only wants sex. And they find themselves trapped. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. So it really wasn’t love, only an illusion.
A wife who truly loves her husband must wrestle with thoughts of leaving because he is abusing her. He tells her he loves her. But he hits her and lies to her. But then always says he is sorry and it won’t happen again. How can you leave someone who loves you? But love is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…It always protects …. Love never fails.
The Beatles put out a song entitled, “Love Is All You Need.” Love is not all that we need. The verbal, “I love you,” is of no benefit unless the non-verbal I love you reenforces it. Love is more action than it is words.
What is missing? God! We need God, in every relationship. I don’t think that we can even understand how to truly love apart from God. When Jesus says, MAT 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me….How can it be? Because you will never really understand how to love someone, until you understand how to love God.