As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, it’s only natural for our hearts to think about what this day represents…love. The word love touches many different relationships within our lives. We experience love for a spouse, love for our children or the love of a parent, and even the love of a friend.

Recently I felt God convicting me to think about this word love, and how I often express it so freely and flippantly to others. It’s become something I say before I get off the phone with my husband, my parents and my brothers. When I leave friends, I often use love in parting words. I often do this habitually without even thinking about what I am saying. I was challenged to ask myself what does God say love is?

Immediately my mind drifted to the words of Paul that are so often recited in weddings in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

These are words we are very familiar with, but do we think about the kind of love these words encourage us to give? When I read these words I’m reminded that ultimately love is choosing to put others before myself. How often are you and I guilty of holding on to the hurts someone else has done to us, instead of choosing to forgive? How often is my love impatient, especially when things don’t happen the way that I want them to?

What would happen if we all loved the way God instructs? If we loved like HE loves us? I think our world would be a different place. A home, a community, a country could be transformed with this kind of love.