Red hearts, pink hearts, hearts on greeting cards and mugs, heart-shaped pillows, dishes, and, of course, the heart emoji, one of my favorites. The heart is the universal symbol of love. I find it interesting, though, that with the overabundance of hearts around us, the world seems less loving and more broken-hearted.
If love is transactional and based on emotions, attraction, or one’s good-natured character, then it is something very temporary, conditional, and limited because our emotions, attractions, and opinions fluctuate and fade. So, what is love, then, and how are we supposed to love?
The Bible says that God is love, and He expressed His love for us through Jesus. He gave us His beloved Son, who in return gave His life for us. Love is so much more than mere caring emotions.
“Love is patient, 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, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
The God kind of love is very costly. It is freely given without expecting anything in return. It is unbelievably generous and enormously sacrificial.
In John 13:34, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This sounds all wonderful until we let this verse sink in. First, Jesus commands us to love, and then he says we must love one another as He loved us. I mean, Jesus is God the Son. He is perfect. He loved us so much that He died on the cross for us so that we would have eternal life. How can we ever love like Jesus? He loved not only the ones who loved Him back but also those who ostracized Him. He loved His enemies. Humanly speaking, loving like Jesus is impossible.
The heart is supposed to be the seat of love, but if we are honest, this seat is often occupied with hurt, unforgiveness, sadness, worries, and so much more. The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” God does. Yes, God knows everything about us; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and yet He is madly in love with us. Fully understanding and receiving God’s amazing love changes everything. The God of love is with us, enabling us to love as He does.
So, what does this mean for us as moms?
We have the privilege and responsibility to teach our children to love God and to love others. We must live out love just like Jesus did because our kids and everyone around us are watching. To love well, we have to put God first. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” (Matthew 22:37). This is the first and most important commandment.
Through prayer and obedience to His Word, God will help us love Him and others. If we surrender our messy, overcrowded, and broken hearts to Him, He will mold and shape our hearts to resemble Christ’s, and He will fill our hearts with His love so that we, too, may overflow with amazing love and abounding grace just like Jesus Christ did 2000 years ago.