Redefining Love

bikeI’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on relationships lately.

Part of it could be because it’s Valentine’s Day. Or because a certain, rather controversial, movie that seems to glorify abusive relationships is being released today *cough *  Mr Grey *cough*.  It may be because I’ve been evaluating a lot of my personal relationships lately.Or because, recently, a friend of mine went to be with Jesus, and while we know he’s alive and well with Christ…it still hurts.

Here’s the deal: I’m not trying to rain on your Valentine’s Day. Really. But I do want to make a point–life is but a vapor, and we truly don’t know how much time we and those around us have left on earth. Circumstances can change in an instant.

Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. That’s why I need to forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what the other person did was okay, but it means that I give Jesus my hurt.I let go of my desire to hold it over their head or try to get even or make them feel guilty. I entrust myself and them to Jesus’ perfect leadership, instead of using my flawed perspective to bring justice. I let Jesus bring His restoration.

Life is short. Thats why I need to say “I love you”.

I tend to take so many people for granted, assuming they know I like them and that it’s not necessary for me to keep reminding them…but it is. I don’t know how many more chances I’ll have to hug someone or tell them how dear they are to me. This is why I want to take advantage of the opportunities I have now to say “I love you”, with both my words and my actions.

Relationships are treasures. And that’s why I need to allow myself to risk letting others in.

I can’t ever be totally sure if someone’s going to stick around or how much longer they’ll be alive on earth or if they’ll always be the same. These uncertainties can make it easy to withdraw my heart in fear. But I can’t allow fear to dictate my relationships. I need to pray for continued wisdom and grace to open my heart and let others in.

Yeah, Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday with flowers and cute couples (I heard at one point it actually had to do with  a Christian martyr who performed wedding ceremonies in Rome even though marriage had been out-lawed there…but I mean, who cares about a martyr who helped preserve marriage, when there’s candy and flowers to receive, right?)

But love is so much more than just candies and feeling happy with the people in your life. Love is deciding to forgive and be honest, even if you really don’t want to. Love is choosing humility. Love is vulnerable. Love is letting Jesus have His way in you, instead of acting out on your own terms.

Each day I’m learning just how different Jesus’ terms are than mine. Just how uncomfortable and totally not fun they can be. How challenging and scary and humbling His ways can be.

But guess what? They are so much better than my ways. His definition and expression of love far surpasses mine. 

I want to love like Jesus does.



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