To love is to choose to benefit the one(s) we love. Our loving is in our choosing. Do I love my child enough to work at putting good food on the table or do I not bother? Do I love my wife enough to comfort her when she is sad, or do I ignore her because emotions make me uncomfortable? Do I love my future self enough to study hard or do I ignore my books? To grow in our ability to love, these choices cannot be forced. Love is a gift, unearned and undeserved, or it is nothing. Again, to love is to CHOOSE to benefit the one(s) we love.
How do we grow in our ability to love? Good question, I’m glad you asked! We are all born with the potential ability to love. It is part of being made in the image of God. As we live our lives, we develop our ability to love by making choices. Choices are opportunities to grow in our ability to love by choosing to give the gift of our love.
We grow especially well when we have good, valid reasons to not love, but still choose to love, to benefit the one(s) we love. For example, I am a great husband ;-) because I give my wife lots of good, valid reasons to not love me. She chooses to love me anyway. In over 50 years together, her love has become very strong and, in the same way, my love for her has become very strong.
Developing our ability to love is the surest way to great happiness. Imagine, if you will, a four year old sitting playing on the floor when Mommy comes home from work. The four year old immediately jumps up and runs to hug Mommy happily yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” Mommy may be tired, hurting, even sad. Regardless, her child’s greeting will fill Mommy with happiness. Such is the power of love. Remember that only you can give God the gift of your love. You are God’s four year old.
God loves you. God chooses to benefit you. God chooses to actively love you by giving you gifts. We each choose to accept or reject God’s gifts. For example, do I go to church to ask for and accept God’s gifts, or do I sleep in?