The Bible provides working definition of love

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day is just a few days away. This day of romance occupies a unique place in the calendar. Valentine's Day falls about a week or more after the Super Bowl and just a few days before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. (Punxsutawney Phil might not be thinking of spring, but I am.)

When I shared this overly astute observation to my wife, her response was, "Hugh, I guess Valentine's Day is kind of like penance."

Instead of gifts of chocolates and flowers that express love and devotion, Valentines gifts become an offering to receive forgiveness for ignoring your spouse during the football season along with a preeminent plea for forgiveness for the overlooking yet to come during baseball season. The bigger the gift given the greater the offense committed. Perhaps for some, not me, well not much.

1 Corinthians 13 is the most quoted Scripture when addressing the issue of love. Quoted at weddings and mocked in movies, these few verses give a working definition of love, a definition that doesn't change but, when seasoned with years of devotion, grows. The first definition reminding all that love is patient.

Many of us associate patience as waiting. Waiting for something to get over so we can finally get on to what we want. Patience is much more that calmly waiting in the 10 items or less checkout line behind someone who clearly has 12 items. Patience is more than camping outside of the store for the latest phone, gadget or the long-awaited conclusion to a movie series.

The word "patience" means more than just waiting for something unpleasant to get over. Patience reveals itself in actions of endurance. Not just with those we know but those we may not.

Biblical love shows itself in practical ways by demonstrating love when wronged, by demonstrating love consistently over time. By shining when others behave badly toward you.

Love is more than just waiting for the difficult time to get over so in the season of pleasantry it can shine again. Love doesn't give up. It doesn't retaliate quickly. Love isn't exclusive, meant only to be given to those we select but demonstrated to all. Love is lived out in patience.

Love is so much more than an in-between-season event.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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