When we find ourselves caught up in measuring how much we are loved (especially when it’s done according to the romantic standards of the world) we’re bound to be disappointed. Instead, I think we better serve ourselves and others when we look to the teachings of Jesus Christ— He who is the ultimate example of what it means to truly love.
The first and great commandment is to love God and put Him first — above all else. The second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. I truly believe that we fulfill the first commandment (to love God) by keeping the second (to love others as ourselves). I can’t think of anywhere in the scriptures that we are taught to be concerned about how much other people love us — only that we are to love others as God loves them and we are to do it in the way that we desire to be loved. That’s a pretty interesting standard if you think about it.
Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not down on shows of romantic affection. In fact, I quite love them. My only concern is for those who struggle with these types of recognition days. Rather, we should instead focus on what it means to genuinely love versus focusing on the romantic kind of love that is marketed at every turn.
Thoughts on how we might better focus on the true meaning of LOVE and some common symbolisms:
RED: I love the color red for its symbolism. Red is a color not only of a rose, but more importantly, and most importantly, BLOOD.
The Greatest Sacrifice of all required the loss of every single pure drop of blood that Jesus Christ had to offer. The process of the Atonement began in Gethsemane and was completed on the cross at Calvary when He said “It is finished.”
The three most important words ever uttered are not “I love you”, but rather, “It is finished.”
HEARTS: We all love hearts and the symbolism of love, for another, associated with the sharing of this symbol. Hearts bring us back to blood and the necessity of that life-giving substance in order to create and maintain life and our relationships for eternity.
The giving of blood, literally, requires sacrifice. Releasing blood, of any amount, causes pain. For women who give birth, this sacrifice is well understood. To the men and women who have valiantly fought battles and lost their lives for our protection and freedoms, we are forever indebted. True sacrifice means a willingness to give up life or blood. Thinking about the symbol of the heart can help us to focus on the truest meaning of what it means to love and be loved.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
ROSES: A single red rose is symbolic of all of the above and serves as a reminder of the fragility of life, its Source and the pain (thorns) associated with the price of the greatest love of all.
“A new commandments I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. “(John 13:34)
Instead of thinking about how much we are loved by others, perhaps we could focus on what it means to truly love others, as He loves us. In this small act, we emulate God’s love and become LOVE.
“Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way toward becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others.” President Henry B. Eyring
You might also enjoy: A Mormon Guide to Love
Scriptures On Love:
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, Lev. 19:18 (Matt. 5:43–44; Matt. 22:37–40;Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8; Mosiah 23:15; D&C 59:6).
- The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God, Deut. 13:3
- A friend loveth at all times, Prov. 17:17
- God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, John 3:16 (D&C 138:3).
- If ye love me, keep my commandments, John 14:15 (D&C 42:29).
- Peter, lovest thou me more than these? Feed my sheep, John 21:15–17
- Nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ, Rom. 8:35–39
- Eye hath not seen the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. 2:9
- By love serve one another, Gal. 5:13
- Husbands, love your wives, Eph. 5:25 (Col. 3:19).
- Love not the world, 1 Jn. 2:15
- God is love, 1 Jn. 4:8
- We love him, because he first loved us, 1 Jn. 4:19
- Christ suffereth because of his loving kindness towards men, 1 Ne. 19:9
- Press forward with a love of God and of all men, 2 Ne. 31:20
- Ye will teach your children to love and serve one another, Mosiah 4:15
- Be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming patient, full of love, Alma 13:28
- Bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love, Alma 38:12
- There was no contention because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people, 4 Ne. 1:15
- Everything which inviteth to love God is inspired of God, Moro. 7:13–16
- Charity is the pure love of Christ, Moro. 7:47
- Perfect love casteth out fear, Moro. 8:16 (1 Jn. 4:18).
- Love qualifies men for God’s work, D&C 4:5 (D&C 12:8).
- Sanctification comes to all those who love and serve God, D&C 20:31
- If thou lovest me, serve me and keep my commandments, D&C 42:29 (John 14:15).
- Show an increase of love to those whom you correct or reprove, D&C 121:43
- Men loved Satan more than God, Moses 5:13, 18, 28
Source: Guide to the Scriptures LDS.org
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