On this Valentine's Day let us openly wrest the definition of "love" away from our culture. We must yank the word out of the hands of Hollywood where it is cheapened, marred and squandered.
Let us look instead to the Source for the term's definition. God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, it only makes sense that we would study God's word to clarify our thoughts on love and to make sure that our thinking has not become contaminated by the cultural influnces that are always pressing in on us.
Proverbs 10:12 openly contrasts love and its opposite, hate:
"Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions."
I have been challenged to rethink my concept of love by 19th century Bible commentator Charles Bridges' exposition on this short passage in his book Proverbs:
"A simple but forcible contrast! Hatred, however varnished by smooth pretence, is the selfish principle of man. Like a subterraneous fire, it continually stirs up mischief, creates or keeps alive rankling coldness, disgusts, dislikes, 'envyings and evil surmisings;' carps at the infirmities of others; aggravates the least slip; or resents the most trifling, or even imaginary, provocation. These strifes are kindled to the great dishonour of God and the marring of the beauty and consistency of the gospel. Is not here abundant matter for prayer, watchfulness, and resistance?On that note, the 14 of us wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. May you love and be loved--as the Author of Love defines it!
Let us study 1 Corinthians 13 in all its detail. Let it be the looking-glass for our hearts, and the standard of our profession. Love covers, overlooks, speedily forgives and forgets. Full of candour and inventiveness, it puts the best construction on doubtful matters, searches out any palliation, does not rigidly eye, or wantonly expose a brother's faults; nor will it uncover them at all, except so far as may be needful for his ultimate good. To refrain from gross slander, while abundant scope is left for needless and unkind detraction, is not covering sin. Nor is the "seven times forgiveness" the true standard of love, which, like its Divine Author, covers all sins. And who does not need the full extent of this covering? What is our brother's all against us, compared with our all against God? And how can we hesitate to blot out a few pence, who look for the covering of the debt of ten thousand talents? Oh! let us 'put on the Lord Jesus' in his spirit of forbearing, disinterested, sacrificing love - "Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." (pgs. 97,98)