“LEARNING TO LOVE”
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.”   (Titus 2:4)
         Love is a subject that everyone thinks they know a lot about.  We teach our children to say, “I love you,” because it is meaningful and cute coming from the lips of a small child.  We express our love with gifts of appreciation or adoration.  We write poems, sing songs, and buy flowers in order to demonstrate our love as meaningful and deep.
         Years ago, on Valentine’s Day, I was shopping at a local supermarket early in the morning before 9 AM and I was astonished at the number of early morning shoppers who all seemed to be shopping for the same thing...Valentine’s Day gifts, cards, balloons, and flowers.  Love was certainly “in the air” and costing people some very serious money.  But you can’t buy love, beloved!  It is not for sale.  Don’t misunderstand me, please.  There is nothing wrong with gifts, flowers, etc., but that really does not prove love.  As someone once said, “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.”
      Love is an expression found in the heart. We think we have many answers to what love is until we examine our hearts.  A husband says that he loves his wife and children, but certainly there must be a manifestation of that love.  It is the man’s responsibility to provide for and protect his family, but there is this thing called affection that must be made known.  It means much to a family to know that love is the motivation for a father’s care and concern for his family.
    Learning to love is something we must all undertake and study in accordance with God’s Word. Personalities and backgrounds in our upbringing may hinder our expressions of loving others.  Oftentimes, we must overcome, with God’s help, our own insecurities and suspicions in our personal relationship with others.  How can we learn to do this, you may ask?  I Corinthians 13 is the one chapter in the Bible that answers many questions about “learning to love.”  We are told in this chapter of many problems in the lives of people, but we are also given the advice on how to react in certain situations.  Example:  “Charity (love) suffereth long (this speaks of patience), and is kind (not cruel, or thoughtless); charity envieth not (it is not consumed with insecurity or jealousy); vaunteth not itself (it is not boastful; i.e. “See what I do because I love you”), is not puffed up (prideful—expecting or demanding personal recognition).”  
     Folks, there is much we need to learn about love.  Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher, the Bible your guide, and the church your classroom.
                                                                                                            Pastor H. Preston Parker