Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil. (Proverbs 16:6 NLT)
When we consider what love is, how love is known to each of us, we can come up with a million different answers, but none comes remotely close to the "definition" of love as we can observe in the life of Jesus. His is the really only unfailing love - his the most reliable. His is the only unconditional love. His is the love that looks beyond what man or woman can see and finds something of untold value in even the "worst" of human life. It is that love, and that alone, that made atonement for sin. It is that love - and that alone - that brings us near to the heart of our heavenly Father.
I recently asked someone close to me to describe what love "looked like" for them. I was asking what it was that another did, said, or just "was" that made that individual feel valued and loved. If you have never been asked that question, it could catch you a little off-guard and it may be harder for us to answer than we may first imagine. Why? We know love when we see or experience it, but we seldom take time to describe what that "looks like" to us. We haven't stopped to really "put into words" what love is. Jesus knew he could have hundreds of people pen words on his behalf - many already did in the form of our scripture - but those words just wouldn't connect with our hearts until he demonstrated that love to us.
While it is important to be able to describe how it is we feel that "connection" of love, it is also important that we recognize what specifically helps us "feel" that connection. This is why it is important to be able to "describe" what it is that makes us feel valued, loved, and simply appreciated. It helps us make the connection - it is like we see the "pathway" the "current" of love travels to actually touch our heart.
It would be a fitting way for us to begin our new year together to actually take just a few moments and ask ourselves just how it is we "feel" loved. First, how is it we feel loved by Jesus? Don't just recite some Bible verse, but actually find one very specific way God has made connection with your heart this year and write it down. Now, that person you have the closest relationship with - how is it they show you they love you? What is it that reveals to you that you are valued and appreciated by this individual? Write that down. Finally, ask yourself how it is you believe you show love to that individual. If those lists don't agree or intersect on at least a few points, this may be the opportunity you need to just begin to connect with that individual in a fresh way in the new year.
We all have our points of connection - but actually giving "voice" to them or putting them into words is not a skill many of us actually master. Come a little closer to mastering this and you might be overwhelmed with just how many times and in how many new ways your "love" for that other person begins to intersect! Just sayin!