The fact that someone says they love you, is not enough. It’s the actions they take consistently overtime that validate what they say and clarifies what they mean.
I am not suggesting that we become cynical of people’s declaration of love, I am saying that over time the actions of people will validate their declaration.
More interestingly, their actions will clarify their declaration. Their actions will clarify what they mean when they say they love you…because not everyone who loves you, loves you in the same way.
Your ability to understand the love you feel or are receiving will influence the health of your relationships.
In 1 Samuel 18 we find a story of David who has just been propelled into the radar of Saul the king, and Jonathan, the prince following David’s victory over Goliath.
1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
Jonathan and Saul were impressed by David and loved him. Jonathan’s Love lead him to enter into a covenant with David. Sauls Love lead him to retain David in the palace and among the army ranks.
Two people were impressed with and even loved David, but their expressions of the love and admiration they felt for him were different.
One of the great skills we would need trust the Holy Spirit to help us with is that of knowing the kind of love you have for your neighbour and the kind of love that your neighbour has for you.
Do they love me as themselves like Jonathan loved David? Do I love them because of the political benefits they bring to my life?
In pastoring people, I have learnt that most people will love the pastor for being their pastor, but many can’t handle the pastor as a person. Or even as person with flaws! 😱
Most people in church love you because you understand “christianese” but can’t they handle you when you don’t speak christianese.
Some of your friends love you because you are funny and you make them laugh. But they don’t know what to do with you when you’re crying!
Now it is not necessarily a bad thing for someone to love you because of what you bring to the table. Truth be told, more often than not, we connect in relationships as a result of what we perceive that you bring to the table in the early stages of our relationship.
However the onus is on us as individuals to understand how people love you. Do they love you like Saul loved David, or do they love you like Jonathan loved David.
Many times we get burnt because you were trying to relate to Saul as if he loved you like Jonathan. You were trying to relate to your boss as if he was your pastor. Or trying to relate with your girlfriend as if she’s your wife.
But in driving our relationships with love…we need to understand the level of love or the type of love in operation at the time and operate at that level!
Don’t love your boyfriend like he is your husband. Yes he loves you, but until that love moves him to put a ring on it, it’s not time for him to enjoy the benefits due to a husband!
Same for you gents, ladies are just as bad sometimes, don’t give her what is due for your wife!
Be educated on the type of love those around you have for you and the type of love you have for others.
If the actions we take in our relationships are driven by love and expressed appropriately, your relationships will flourish!