There is a scene in the much loved movie, The Princess Bride, where Vizzini used the word “inconceivable” one too many times. Inigo Montoya, exasperated by his overuse of the word, confronted Vizzini by saying, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I couldn’t help but imagine that, were Inigo Montoya able to listen to many of us speak today, he would make the same statement regarding our use of the word love. We love photos on social media. We love pizza. We love celebrities. We love music. We love vacation spots. We love our families. We love a good book. We love shoes that don’t hurt our feet. We love our favorite pair of jeans. On and on it goes. The word has become so overused and watered down that I do not think it means what we think it means. Yet, we keep using that word.
As I read through the Bible last year, that movie quote kept running through my mind as I was confronted time and time again with scriptural commands to love. Love the Lord. Love my brothers. Love my enemies. Love my neighbors. Love the poor. Love the lonely. I found myself asking, “What does it look like to live like that? To love like that?”
If loving others is of the utmost importance to the Lord (and it is), then it must be of the utmost importance to me as well. So, I began studying, marking every verse that mentioned loving others, and making notes. What I discovered was that there are literally hundreds of commands, instructions, and encouragements that speak specifically to loving others. And I felt this overwhelming desire to obey each and every one of them.