Take a look at this video.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is perhaps one of the most well known stories Jesus told. The goal in its' telling is to reshape one's definition of love.
Lately I'm wrestling with the idea of what love is actually all about. I've spent a significant amount of time in thought and prayer regarding this idea of love, and I've come up with three small areas of focus that I believe define what love is. Here is my working definition: love is about being real, being there and speaking truth. When you tell someone that you love them, you are communicating much more that a 2 or 3 word verbal barrage. Instead, you are conveying a message of intentionality. Love is a word that has lost much of its' significance in our society only because it is easily associated with a solitary action, a preference of taste or a fickle feeling. But love is so much more than this! Love is a state of being; love is all consuming; love is a choice. Choosing to love means learning to be real, to be there and to speak truth. Being real with another person, or one's own self, means that there is an ever growing level of authenticity, transparency and vulnerability that encompasses this act of love. Can you imagine for a second if all your connections with other people were surface ones? These connections never carried with it depth of any significance. Time spent with these people would merely focus on matters of pleasure or ritualistic behavior/conversation out of duty more than anything else. But those relational connections that conjure up a level of trust through the presence of being real provide the recipients with the platform from which to truly enjoy a meaningful relational connection with others. Without risk; without a pursuit of being real, love is absent. True love demands authenticity.
True love also demands one's captivation. In order to truly love another individual we must learn to be there for that person. The idea of being there supersedes the notion of being purely physically present for another person. Being there refers to the offering of one's entire self (body, mind & soul) to another person. Here is what I am referring to. As a Dad, I can easily be physical present with my family, but during this time I can also be easily distracted by projects that need to get done, stuff on TV, other technological devices, or my desire to find time for myself. As my kids grow up, I hope they don't think they have to battle for time with their Dad against all these other perceived potential foes! My family must know that they are more important to me than any of these things. In the same way as I approach my relational connection with my family, those that I love the most, I must also be willing to extend this same courtesy and connection to others, even if it is only for a few brief moments at a time.
Lastly, true love speaks truth. Love that is real is love that has the courage to battle mediocrity. Love that speaks truth is love that is committed to see the other person reach their fullest potential in Christ. This kind of love says that things that aren't easy to here at times, but it also shares encouraging words and spends moments demonstrating truth through action. Love that is truthful is love that is intentional; it's a love that has purpose and meaning; love that defies all odds and love that doesn't stand still but love that continues to evolve and grow over time.
Have you ever wondered what your love capacity may be? Perhaps if each of us would be willing to grow in our understanding of what it means to be real, be there and speak truth in the lives of those we truly love, we may just begin to grasp the depth of love the overflows from the throne of our Creator. For the love He has for us is surely more than an Ocean Wide.