2 John 1:6 “And this is love:<sup class="crossreference" value="(J)”> that we walk in obedience to his commands.<sup class="crossreference" value="(K)”> As you have heard from the beginning,<sup class="crossreference" value="(L)”> his command is that you walk in love.”

     Love is a word that means different things to different people.  There is a lot of confusion about it.  For my generation, the movie “Love Story” defined love;  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  When I was twenty one years old, holding the love of my life in my arms who was eighteen this definition appealed to both of us.  Today after thirty-nine years of marriage I know this definition was as false as it was appealing.  I’ve said ‘sorry’ many, many many times and worked through a lot of tough stuff with my wife.  Our love has grown deeper.

     When my wife and I moved into our new home over thirty years ago we had a neighbour who was a real character.  He was a man of many talents, deep faith and wore his dentures when he felt like it.  He and his wife had been married for years and sometimes we could hear them fighting.  He told me that marriage was like a house – it needed regular maintenance;  ‘paint and wallpaper covers a lot of sin.’  He didn’t cover up trouble in his marriage, he cleaned it up and started again.  When he painted and wall papered he always cleaned away the old and started from a fresh surface.  He loved his wife and she loved him.

      In the ‘old’ King James Bible the word for love is ‘charity’.  New translations substitute the word ‘love’ for ‘charity’.   If we look up ‘charity‘ we see that it can mean ‘generosity and benvolence’ toward others.  In another sense it means ‘indulgence and forbearance in judging others’.  In the Christian sense it means; “. . . love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.”  The closest neighbour any man will ever have is his wife.  Anyone who has been married will tell you that being charitable is more important that being ‘in love’ when it comes to getting along.  Cutting your partner a little slack in a rough spot loosens the rope around your neck.

     The Bible gives the best definition of love; “ Love is patient,<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> it is not easily angered,<sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”> it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”> but rejoices with the truth.<sup class="crossreference" value="(G)”>   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)  Any marriage, any relationship based on that kind of love cannot fail!  Jesus knew that.  Jesus taught that.  Jesus commands that we walk in that love;  “A new command<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> I give you: Love one another.<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> As I have loved you, so you must love one another.<sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”> By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”   (John 13:34,35)

     Can we do it?   Can we overcome our selfishness?  Can we love?  Only by His strength (Phil 4:13)!

     Praise the Lord!