Faith Column: Love is in the air
Today is Valentine’s Day. If you are reading this and forgot, stop and go take care of your significant other…now!
I would like to encourage a gift to others, a way to not just say “I love you”, or handing off something tangible, rather, a gift given that can encourage and endure.
Love by Learning through Listening.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…James 1:19
One of the greatest expressions of value we can give another person is to listen to them. It is a lost art, or maybe a never-been-found reality. Talk radio, political debates and social media have compounded and expanded the practice of talking over someone or not really hearing them – often we are formulating our next response, rather than hearing the other person, when in a back and forth dialog.
Want to demonstrate that you love someone – listen to them, really hear what they are saying.
If we can grow in our ability and desire to listen well, we will learn a lot. We can learn about who someone really is and even learn more about who we are, as we listen. Others will learn as they observe or experience our skill at listening.
I worked with a friend for a number of years, who, when his young children entered our workplace, stopped whatever he was doing – including conversations with other adults. My friend would bend down or even get on one knee to look the child in the eyes and let them tell him what was needing to burst out of their mouth. His kids grew up knowing that they are important and valued – I learned a lot from my observation of his priority in listening to his kids.
His children, now adults, still know their father loves them.
This learning process, through the art of listening, is loving another.
Love is more than a feeling; it is an act of the will.
The “love struck” teenager in the movie, “Dan In Real Life” passionately exhorts us that “Love is not a feeling; it is an ABILITY.”
Much of our New Testament in the Bible reflects ancient Greek culture due to the early church being immersed in that culture. There are primarily four Greek words which carry the corresponding cultural thoughts concerning love.
Eros- Erotic Love. Physically joining another in a sexual expression of love. In our day too often, this is the only expression of love some people seek to experience.
Philia-Affectionate Love. Most generally associated with friendship – think Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love.”
Storge-Kinship Love. This is the love of parents toward children and vica versa
These first three “loves” are all conditional. They say “I love you IF” or “I love you BECAUSE”, the condition must exist for the love to remain.
The final and primary love we read about the New Testament of our Bible is Agape- Selfless Love. This kind of love says: “I Love You” (period). It is the kind of Unconditional Love that God has for us.
For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that through Him the world might be saved. John 3:16-17
If you are giving a Valentine gift today, consider including the gift of Love expressed in Listening, you can Learn much.
Pastor Len Browning is the lead Pastor at the Journey at First Baptist in Craig. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org