This we know, yet we do it: use the word “love” so lightly it has become banal. Anyone can say it to anyone, without meaning it.
Downsizing the big word “love” might have begun in the 15th century when the ideograph heart (the graphic heart we use today to symbolize heart and therefore, love) was created.
This ideograph is now even found in Facebook as one of the emoticons you tick off if you like a post.
Even worse, the word “love” has a new Filipino translation: lab, which is also the shortened form for Labrador or laboratory. I’ve received messages from girl friends who end their sentence with “lab u!”
I plead guilty to saying, “I loved that book” or “I loved the food” or I loved her dress.”
Our careless speech today, especially because one-liners and sound bites on social media are the norm, makes it hard to discern what we mean when we say we “love” this or that. We have trivialized the word.
When I turned the page of my calendar to February four days ago, my eyes were riveted to the ideograph printed on day 14: Valentine’s Day. This made me ponder the word “love,” and shocked myself to realizing what it has been reduced to.
At church, we say or sing, “I love you Lord.” What do we actually mean? Is this in the same vein as “lab u?”
The Bible is not careless with the word “love.”
John 3:16 (KJV), the foundation of my faith, says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
In John 15:12, Jesus also said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
In Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
There are many, many more.
As we celebrate the love month (there goes the word again!), may God’s grace teach us to live and demonstrate the real meaning of "love" in our relationships—with people and especially with the Lord.
“Love” is a big word. I pray we keep it that way, and not follow the trend of downsizing it further.