Quite interesting that after the NEW BEGINNING of a New Year and the chance to start over again (which God gives us every day) we should spend the next month talking about LOVE.

Once we have been given a new start, we need to feel and experience the gift of love, which God authors and pours out upon us ALL the time. It is when we feel this blessing, that we can be the very best we can be. We can achieve more, we can rise to greater heights, we can offer love and acceptance to others, we can be at peace with ourselves, with others, and with God.

You have no doubt either read or heard the definition of love in the past, but we shall remind you:

Love is my God-given power of choice to do that which is in the best interest of another, regardless of my feelings.

That’s a weighty definition, when you think about it! It’s a God-given power of choice? So love is really a choice? Yes? Do we always feel like loving? Probably not. Sometimes do you feel that the person you are supposed to love is unworthy of your love? Do you feel occasionally that that person is unlovely–hair not done “just right?’ Make-up not perfectly done? Bad-breath? Requires too much of you? You don’t like something they said or did or even left undone?

In those cases, is love still required? Well, look at the definition again. What is in the best interest of another–to love them or to dump them? To be kind and generous or to hold back affection and tenderness to “pay them back?” I can’t think of a time when it’s in someone’s best interest to wipe them off your “good list!” But, what if that person is unkind or abusive to you? What then?

The best way is to talk to that person about how you are feeling. Words like, “I am feeling hurt” or “We need to talk about our relationship,” or even “I am feeling smothered,” or “I am feeling ignored.” Instead of accusing and blaming, which only creates a chasm between people, take responsibility by sharing how you are feeling. Between a husband and wife, who are busy and gone from each other long hours, sometimes unnecessarily, it might be wise to say, “I’m feeling lonely for you.” Instead of, “You’re never home. Are you trying to avoid me?” The later are accusatory words while the former expresses your love and longing to be with that person. If after a conversation nothing changes in your relationship, you might suggest that you both put your relationship on the “back burner” for a while, to give you both time to think and pray about it. Talk to God; talk to a counselor.

The best interest of another is ALWAYS to encourage, benefit, and bless that person with words and deeds designed to uplift them. When you say you are lonely for another, it gives them the impression that you care for and enjoy them and want to spend time in their company. When someone does something unkind to you, you can say, “I feel hurt,” rather than accusing them of being mean to you. Start sentences with “I feel” instead of “You always” or “You never.”

The last part of the definition is: “regardless of my feelings.” So, you don’t feel like visiting those old grandparents or old neighbors . . . Ask yourself, “Would it be in the best interest of Grandma and Grandpa for me to visit them for an hour or drop in briefly with a flower or a goodie?” If the answer to that is “Yes,” then doing so is showing love and caring for Granny and Grandpa and the older neighbors. Is it in the best interest after your husband’s exhausting day at work, to have a nice meal ready when he comes home, and after dinner bring a pan of hot water to soak his feet and follow up with a foot-rub? Of course you would answer “Yes.” Do you necessarily feel like it after your busy day? “NO!” But doing it anyway is loving him, because it’s in his best interest. Do you feel like washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen for your wife after you have had a busy day? Probably not, but she’s been chasing and caring for the children all day, and doing the dishes for her while she puts the children to bed, WOULD DEFINITELY be in her BEST INTEREST!

Love the unlovely,
Be kind to the unkind and snarky,
Do for those who wouldn’t necessarily do for you,
Offer affection to those of the family who don’t offer it to you,
Do unto others as you would like them to do for you.

Remember folks: Husbands and wives like tokens of your love on Valentines Day and every day. A sweet note, a red rose, a special dessert, their favorite meal, a new blouse, nicely polished shoes, clean and ironed shirts, a drawer full of sparkling clean undies, an unexpected embrace, an honest compliment; All these are acts of love, and God’s love, poured through us into someone else. Think about that today, and do it. It will benefit your heart as well as theirs!

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