Heart-Shaped Box by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom

By Carolyn Tucker



Dad and Mom have been gone for quite some time now; 11 years and 8 years respectively. I still miss my parents, but I’ve gotten used to them not being around. I’m often reminded of their biblical love for one another. I distinctly remember Mom telling me that Dad had given her a heart-shaped box of chocolates for every Valentine’s Day. Their hearts had intertwined so deeply that it was heartbreaking for them to be separated when Mom transferred to a healthcare facility. They were solidly married for 69 years.


There are at least three descriptive levels of love: words, actions, giving. There’s probably something wrong in our mindset if one of these three ways to express love is missing. Love is not saying, “I love you,“ when our attitude denies those words. Love is not doing the right thing with the wrong motive. And, by itself, love is not giving a box of chocolates, dazzling jewelry, or a dozen roses. Love is a steady intense affection that demonstrates genuine feelings of love with kindness and unselfishness.


I don’t want to live a small life that’s full of myself. I want to live with an enlarged heart full of love for others. God is the supreme example of what real love is because He is love; He invented it. Even in this pro-self society, brotherly love is still supposed to show up and reach out every day in every believer’s life. No love is more convincing than the God-kind of love flowing out from our own heart. The best motivating explanation of love is found in the New Testament:


“If I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value. Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving” (1 Corinthians 13:3-8 TPT).


Christ followers are commanded to love, so it’s not a mere suggestion. In the above letter, Apostle Paul is teaching that love covers everything, like a roof covers the home. Genuine love doesn’t focus on what’s wrong but will patiently endure the shortcomings of others. Like a roof that protects, love doesn’t spring a leak. It’s a safe place that offers shelter, not exposure. Love doesn’t tell everything it knows, even if it’s true.  Love doesn’t throw anyone under the bus. Love takes a licking and still keeps ticking. In the end, love wins every time.


The Key: Love never goes out of style and neither will a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

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