The question has been asked many times, What makes a house a home? The common answer is love. When true love is exchanged in a household, bricks, mortar, wood and tile take on true life. Love is life, because life is God. In order to foster a loving atmosphere in the home, God’s love must be expressed in it physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually . It is in God that we live and move and have our being, according to the Apostle Paul. First John 4:8 says, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Love is not a feeling, affection, kindness, passion, romance, sex or even compassion. These emotions or state of being maybe ways God has provided for us to express love toward people, places, animals and even God, Himself, but love is God.
We must guard ourselves against acknowledging the results, acts, or expressions as being the true essence of a thing. For instance, when we see leaves on a tree move, do we say it is the wind? It really is not the wind; it is the results of the wind. It is an action caused by the wind. It really is not the wind. The same is true when we see kindness, affection, or compassion expressed. It is not love; it is the result of love.
Love is what makes God who He really is. Genesis 1:26-27 says we are made in the image of God. If we are in His image, it is right to say that love makes us who we are. God makes us who we are. Without God we are nothing and can do nothing. Without God a house is just a house and not a home. The ideal nature of life is God. God identifies the true nature and quality of life. If everything in us, on us, and around us was taken away, the only thing that would be left is God. He was here before anything else was, and He will be here when everything else is gone.
Ways to Express Love in the Home
1. Tell the truth at all times. Tell the truth quickly. Telling the truth frees you and others to deal in honesty and based on reality. You use energy that could otherwise be used for your good and the good of others by withholding the truth. It takes lots of time and energy to keep secrets and fabricate lies. Keeping secrets and fabricating lies releases negative energy into the atmosphere of your home.
2. Share what needs to be shared. There are at least three things that need to be shared to foster love in any home–resentments held inside, unmet needs and desires that are the foundation of the resentments, and appreciations. There are at least three ways to show appreciation: verbal expression, tangible expression, and physical contact or emotional expression.
3. Master your words. Refrain from repeating hearsay, gossip or unconfirmed information. Speak words of kindness and speak the truth in love. Correction and discipline can be done with kind words. Realize words are powerful and whatever you say to a person or about a person produces a result in this world.
4. Make every effort to keep commitments even to your own heart. Werner Erhard said, “Your life works to the degree you keep your agreements.” Your home life will only work to the degree you keep your commitments to each other. Keeping your word is critical to achieving and maintaining an atmosphere of love. Make only the agreements you commit to keep. Document each agreement you make. Notify the person or persons with whom you have a commitment as soon as you know you will not be able to keep it. Make every effort to make good on it as soon as possible. Learn to count the cost prior to making an agreement.
Love God and Love Others
The first commandment is to love God, and the second one is like it: ”Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. Our neighbor includes those in our home. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “we should allow this love to permeate our homes. We should talk of this love when we sit in our home, when we lie down and rise up and we should even write it on the doors and walls”.
Love for God and love for others should be a standard teaching and an intricate part of the atmosphere of every home. Freedom of expression, warmth, peace and joy prevail in every home that is filled with love. Love is the essence of a true home, and we cannot live life to the full without love for God and love for others.