It is easy to say “I love you”, but what does that mean? You could ask a variety of people and it might get a lot of different answers. There are all sorts of theories about love. Human love has a variety of colors and shades.
You could also ask God since he is the author of love. God’s love is talked about in detail in the Word of God. There is no mistaking the love of God when one experiences it first-hand. It is very different from the world’s conception of love:
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3
Wow, there are some statements in the verses above that sound very loving! This whole section is talking about the love of God as it permeates people’s hearts. The love of God has a recognizable set of tools:
4 Charity suffereth long (King Jimmy language meaning ”having a long fuse’) and is kind (not a gossip, nor mean, snarky or a busybody); charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself (lifting oneself above others), is not puffed up,
Each of us have our own individual qualities, we are not to compare our lives with others. To do so denies the very essence of what God is all about. When we size ourselves up by others, all hell abounds!
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly (stay in one’s lane), seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (does not lay guilt and shame at people’s feet); 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity (‘aha I gotcha’, but rejoiceth in the truth (truth is an integral part of love); 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7
Everything else is false love. The worldly kind of love ultimately brings people down. It may carry expectations that might herald guilt and condemnation and the pointing of fingers down the road. God’s love brings people up and empowers them. It lifts us up and out of the mud and darkness. Worldly love has potholes and traps, that trip people up. God’s love is freedom and peace. It never disappoints:
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
We are constantly growing in our lives and we mature as we take on values that are sure and unfailing. If we continue to look to God for our answers, he is ready, willing and able to provide them.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
When you see it you will know it.