Ephesians 5:2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Each of us has a defined idea of what love looks like. To some, roses are meaningful. To others, they’re a waste of money. Some value time with one another. Others value time away from one another. Each of us defines, from an early age, what love looks like to us.

In order to truly love another person effectively, we must first understand how that person defines love. What does love look like to that person? To an overwhelmed mother, it may look like a night out on the town. To an overwhelmed executive, it may look like quiet time at home. We MUST  accept the fact that people understand love based on their personal definition, not ours. It’s a zero value effort to “wish someone loved” in a way that he or she doesn’t understand and define love. Many tears have been shed throughout time over a love who does not love like we understand. 

Consider love to be a key to a door. When I look at the key to the front door of my house and compare it to the key to the front door of my neighbors house, I see that they are not the same. They may have a similar shape. They may share some similar rises and falls. But, they are not the same. My key will not open the front door of my neighbors house. My key has a unique pattern.

Each of us has an infinitely unique pattern that is the key to our heart. There is a unique pattern that will unlock that door. I can use my unique key on your unique lock all day long and I will never succeed in gaining access. I must understand your unique pattern, the pattern that developed based on childhood, friendships, past relationships, self-beliefs, past traumas, and the list goes on.

To truly love another, we must endeavor to understand their pattern. We must love as they understand and realize that they can only love as they understand. To expect them to love as we understand is nonsense and will only lead to frustration and sadness. It requires a choice on their part to seek to understand our pattern. It’s only when they endeavor to understand our pattern that they can understand how to unlock our heart. It is a choice.

Jesus loves us perfectly. He is the Master key. He sees the patterns in our hearts and He loves us in the way that we understand. He loves us in a way that doesn’t condemn or judge, but forgives and encourages. As we open to Him, He changes our pattern, heals our hearts, so we love more like Him.

As we grow in Christ, we seek to love others purely, not needing them to match our pattern to be loved, but seeking to understand theirs. We will never have a master key to hearts as Jesus does, but we can become more and more like Him. As we learn to love without judgment and condemnation, hearts open to our love and encouragement.