Wouldn’t it be weird to say, “Will you be my half-Valentine?” Or to give someone half a cut-out heart? But for many of us, our understanding of love has been cut in two, leaving us with half a heart and half the benefits we should receive from being people of love.
Remember Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s “love is…” comics? Love is a warm blanket, love is helping, love is a friend like Woodstock. Yep. Warm, fuzzy love. Those things are great, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t the whole picture.
If I refuse to pet other people’s insecurities, if I reject their bad behavior, or if I try to bring correction where there is ignorance and confusion, then I’m not being a “loving” person. We’ve come to the point where disciplining our children is no longer considered a loving deed, even though the Bible tells us we hate the children we refuse to correct. Somehow, we’ve come to the erroneous conclusion that walking in love and “being nice” are one and the same; that being well-mannered and being a loving person are equivalent.
The opposite end of the spectrum calls everything “tough love” and lumps abuse and torment and all manner of cruelty under that label. And that’s not right either.
We all hunger for love that lasts a lifetime. We want to love, and to be loved. But we settle, too often, for half a heart.
True love involves more than fuzzy feelings and Snoopy-esque quotes. Love that lasts, love that’s true, must include honesty and honor; commitment and correction; discipline as well as devotion. Without both sides, love becomes a shallow pool, doomed to evaporate in the blistering heat of the noonday sun.
Being afraid to speak the truth, to bring correction, or to provide discipline is as much an abuse of the definition of love as lying, betrayal, and faithlessness.
To be a person of love, I must be one who speaks AND hears truth. Who offers AND receives correction. Who submits to AND offers discipline.
This month, while pink and red hearts and lacy doilies decorate our homes, let’s meditate on the way we live in love.
- Are we one-sided lovers?
- Do we always want to correct and never want to be corrected?
- Do we expect respect and fail to offer it in return?
I don’t want to have half a heart! I want to be more than half a Valentine! Don’t you?