Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with God and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. Christ’s love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Love like that: full of joy, heedless of shame, unconcerned about reciprocation, abounding in grace. That is the kind of love God has shown to us through Jesus. It’s not a love that we’ve earned or merited. It’s a love that is freely given, in spite of the fact that we’ve all too often neglected, avoided, or outright rejected the giver.
“Love” is one of the most overused and misused words in the English language. “I love your shoes!” or “Oh, how I love steak!” (both of which I admit I’ve uttered this week) or “I love how you turned that situation around so skillfully!” We say love when we mean admire, enjoy, or even covet.
But what, really, is love?
Merriam-Webster defines love as “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion.” Let’s be clear… that is not what is meant by today’s scripture. Love is infinitely more compelling than that rather lukewarm definition! The love described in our passage is more about action than feeling. It’s about a conscious choice, not an unconsidered impulse. It is about putting aside our own comfort, wants, and gratification in order to show care and compassion to the people around us. It is deeply powerful, fully passionate, and profoundly committed.
That is… in short… the kind of love that God shows us! … Love like that.
What words and actions can show love to each person you meet this Valentine’s Day?