Love: The Heart of the Soul

Can love be measured by words or action?

Jim Allen

We know the human heart is not really where the spirit abides or where happiness originates. Nor is it the source of love for that matter. Nonetheless, the human heart is a wondrous symbol for describing that which is occasionally challenged, sometimes broken, and often tested by the trials of life. What is more, we know the use of the word "heart" refers to the central-most part of our being where we live and move, making moment-by-moment decisions that lead to every thought, word, and deed.

The heart spoken of here is the soul of every person—where love is born.

What does Love look like?

A New York police officer, Larry DePrimo, was honored by Mayor Bloomberg on the radio last year for performing a selfless act to help someone in need. A man without shoes, in temperatures near freezing, was sitting on a cold sidewalk in Manhattan. Seeing the misery and want of the man, Officer DePrimo asked, "Where are your shoes?" The man replied, "It's okay. I've never had a pair of shoes, but God bless you." The officer was deeply moved by the man's gracious response and knew he had to act. Without delay, he went to a nearby store and purchased socks and shoes for the man with his own money. [1]

Of this kind and generous act, Daniel Vogler of Revival Lifestyle wrote, "For centuries now certain pockets of Christianity have been yelling 'repent!' and 'Jesus loves you!' into the masses, not understanding that God really called us to become His manifestation of love on this planet instead of only talking about it." [2] The caring act by officer DePrimo was truly Christ-like, love in action that reminds me of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Vogler's words are incredibly apt when you consider that the world will understand love-in-action long before it understands words-of-inaction. Love is seeing an opportunity to help someone in need followed by a compassionate heart to act (1 John 3:17).

What does Love say?

When it comes to a broken heart, words of wisdom and encouragement from a trusted friend can bring peace and hope for a new beginning. A young lady who had once been in love wrote, "Unfortunately the broken heart of many singles is compounded by the hurtful comments of family members and friends... These ongoing interactions can create self-doubt and isolation for many Christian singles because the very people they would turn to for support are the ones inflicting the pain. After a relationship that was heading towards marriage ended, I recall hurting so much that I didn't know how I would go on... But, for every doubt I uttered, God had a comforting response from His Word."
  • Lord, I feel all alone...but God said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8).
  • Lord, I just knew he was the one...but God said, "...No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11).
  • Lord, I want to be married and have a family...but God said, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11). [3]
Love is speaking soothing words to heal a broken heart (Psalm 34:18). When these words of reassurance come from the Father, we're comforted, knowing our healing has begun. Words spoken in love make it possible to cast our burdens upon Him, knowing no good thing will be withheld from those who trust in Him.

What does Love do?

A man worked at a railroad bridge-lift to raise and lower the bridge for boat traffic. After raising the bridge up and allowing a boat to pass, the man heard the whistle of an approaching passenger train. The train was five minutes early. Maybe you've heard the story. His 8-year old son fell into the bridge-lift's gear box and became entangled. The father knew the train could not stop in time and would crash—killing all onboard—if the bridge was not lowered in time. The father, torn between his son's life and the many lives of the passengers, did the unthinkable and lowered the bridge, knowing his son would die, but many would live.

The train and its passengers bowled past the grief-stricken father, unaware of the incredible sacrifice paid for their safe passage. The father had lost his only son. A few miles later, the train made its scheduled stop at a town where ten passengers got off. A few days later, the town's newspaper reported the tragic event. Of the ten passengers who got off, only one felt compassion and went to the father's house to express sorrow for the loss of his son and gratitude for his brave act. The father looked with tearful eyes at the indebted man and whispered, "Remember the sacrifice of my son."

While the story about a father losing his only son is thought to be fictional, we know it really happened 2,000 years ago, but in a different way and for a divine purpose (John 3:16). However, the plea to remember the sacrifice of the Father's Son is real and eternal (Luke 22:19-20).

What is love? Love is that wondrous attribute of the soul—invisible and born from within—that places another before self (John 15:12-13).

[1] New York Post, "Manhattan Times Square Cop - Heart and Soul"
[2] Revival Lifestyle, "What Christians Can Learn"
[3] Highly Favored, "Overcoming a Broken Heart"

Image Credit: Louise Docker; "My heart in your hands"; Creative Commons

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Published 2-7-13