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Why Love is Something We Have to Be to Know Who We Are

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Love is something I ramble about quite often. Not the noun, but the verb. While love is a powerful feeling, I wonder if the weight of the word hangs more from its role as a calling, a doing, and a being.

According to Jesus, our most important task in life can be summed up in two words: be love. No restrictions, no conditions. Since we’re literally made from love as divine image bearers, being love is as simple as letting our true nature shine. In theory, all we need to do is drop a bucket down into our heart, fill it with love, and pour the good stuff onto others. But things get tricky in practice.

Dropping buckets for people who seem impossible to love or for those we don’t understand because they are different from us doesn’t come easy. Mostly because our head gets in the way of our heart. Then there are the people all around us that we don’t even know. Strangers. Loving these people can sometimes feel awkward and unsettling because we lack the comfort of recognition. Again, the thing between our ears thinks too much.

Yet, Jesus did all these things with ease. Still does in loving each of us with all our imperfections, quirks, sinful behaviors. We’re called to do the same. Like every day, all the time, with everyone we meet—friend or foe, stranger or companion. Being love is our calling card to see the love in others, where our shared and divine DNA meet. It is in these sacred unions that we know who we are at the core.

This picture captures my daughter, Kahrin, consoling a stranger in Spain. A young lady close in age to her at 21. Our family was walking to our destination when Kahrin spotted her on the bottom step cowering against the wall, tears streaming down her face.

Without hesitation, Kahrin knelt beside her and began communicating with her in Spanish, asking what was wrong and if she could help. The rest of us stood at the top of the steps and watched. We couldn’t hear what was being said, but the actions spoke loud and clear. Love was on full display.

Turns out the distraught girl (her name is Ruth) was visiting Barcelona with her boyfriend and he abruptly tossed her out of his car and drove off leaving her with no money and a dead cell phone. She was afraid, hurting, and alone in a foreign city. My daughter met her right there in the brokenness, loving a neighbor in need.

While Kahrin couldn’t do much but give Ruth some money to take a train home, the tearful and long-lasting embrace between them was proof of a seismic doing and being of the love thing. I could almost see each of them drop their buckets, fill them with love, and unleash a hefty pour on one another.

I’m grateful for the reminder of what being love looks like, especially when the doing means bridging the gap of what’s comfortable and familiar. Such God-ordained opportunities exist everywhere. My prayer is to be as aware and alert as my daughter was when these moments come my way.

The well of love inside us will never run dry—but it can become stagnant. May we all choose to be doers of our calling by dropping buckets and pouring love around us everywhere.


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