Rev. Derrick Elliott
February, the month of love, is upon us, and it is a time to reflect on the importance of love in our lives. Love is a fundamental aspect of human existence and essential for our well-being. But, as we all know, love is not always easy and requires effort, commitment, and sacrifice.
For many people, faith plays a crucial role in their understanding and practice of love. Many religious traditions teach that love is at the heart of their faith. In Christianity, for example, the Bible teaches that love is the greatest commandment. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). This passage teaches that true love is not just an emotional feeling but an active choice to put the needs of others ahead of our own.
Love can bring people together and create deep and meaningful relationships. The Bible describes love as “patient and kind … not arrogant or rude … does not insist on its own way … it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
True love is selfless and always puts the needs of others before our own. It is patient and understanding, never rude or arrogant. It is willing to compromise and does not always demand its way. Love also has the strength to endure any challenge and always maintains hope for the future.
Nowadays, much of our community has become tribal, creating an unhealthy “us vs. them” ideology that produces division and mistrust between different groups within a community. This mentality can lead to discriminatory attitudes and behaviors towards those perceived as different and foster a sense of superiority and entitlement among members of the “in-group.”
When a community shares love with one another, it creates a palpable sense of unity and belonging. People experience a connection to one another and become more invested in the well-being of their community. This type of community is often characterized by acts of kindness and generosity, as well as a willingness to help out when someone is in need. People in such societies tend to look out for each other, volunteer at schools, churches, or community centers, or organize events and activities that unite people. These actions strengthen the bonds between community members and create a sense of mutual support and care. It is beautiful to see how when a community shares love with one another, it can create a place where people can thrive and feel supported.
Love can bring joy and happiness into our lives, which we should all strive to cultivate and nurture in our relationships. The qualities of love are essential to remember in our daily lives, as they can help us build strong and healthy communities around us. Let us be the community that strives to exhibit the patience, kindness, and selflessness that speaks to 1 Corinthians 13.