The 16 Levels of Love – Part 13
The first eleven levels of love may have been tough. Let me speak for me, they were tough and exposed some work I can do to improve my “love”. Level twelve is one I think I get. I’m getting off on this 12th level just to be encouraged that I’m not a lost case when it comes to “love”. Although I’m a little anxious about it as I write, it too may reveal an area that could stand some improvement. Just keep in mind that the 16 levels of love is not meant to make you feel bad or show the error of your ways, but rather to show how to love the only way love was meant to be. It’s to give you a true measurement for those who say they love you and you say you love. Level twelve paints the picture that the job of love is to always keep safe.
In order to get the best understanding of level 12, as usual we will begin with defining a word that we usually take for granted, protect. Take a look at these definitions to see what I mean.
Protect: keep safe, to preserve, to restrict, to cover, to shield
These definitions prove that I have limited thinking when it comes to protecting. It would also imply that I have a limited view of what it means to love as it relates to protecting. I understand perfectly how to “keep safe”. When I was in junior high school, I had a protector, an older brother who played on the football team. Because he was a big guy and I wasn’t, he protected me from any threats. He kept me safe even when I encouraged threats, if you know what I mean. Keeping one safe is the definition I get, but what about to preserve, restrict, cover, or shield? These actions are totally different. They say you must take an action even when the recipient may not appreciate it or even dislike you for it. Level twelve love say you always protect.
Level Twelve: Love always keeps safe.
This level would appear to be pretty simple for most. To protect is a normal natural instinct, or is it? The problem we face in level twelve is that the scripture says love “always” protects or keeps safe. Always!
Love always protects.
It’s obvious that when a loved-one, a child, spouse, or significant other is threatened that we should stand up for them or join in their fight or battle. As you know what’s normal doesn’t mean it’s the end-all, normal falls short every time. To protect or keep safe means you have to restrict. What happens when that sibling gets involved with someone that’s not beneficial; are you in the restricting game? To keep safe says you shield or cover, when was the last time you shielded your spouse or covered them from the dirt and debris or the gossip or social chatter?
Love puts up with anything.
This statement almost sounds like it’s in opposition to “love always protects.” It’s not. “Putting up with anything” is what you should do towards others. “Protect” is what you’re to do for another. When someone comes at you, you put up with anything, therefore you protect the person who’s doing the putting. That person who doesn’t like you, you put up with it. Sounds uncommon? Yes, because it is. You protect them from even themselves or as I like to say, “stupid” them.
The picture of level-twelve love is getting a whole lot clearer for me and it’s beginning to expose me. How about you?
Let’s take a look at a few of level-twelve’s opposites. Imagine that the opposites reveal that work on this level-of-love must be done. BTW – this is a good thing. Your wife, your husband, your children, your friends, your family, and you will all benefit from and identify how you can better apply level twelve love to your life and theirs.
- Do you handle the threats that your significant other faces or just the one you face?
- Do you assist your children with bullies or do you encourage them to be the bully?
- Are you trying to preserve their image or is yours more important?
- Are you willing to restrict the things in their life, things they don’t know need restricting (ie. bad friends and eating habits)?
- Will you cover them? Do you pray for their concerns or your own?
- Are you willing to take the hit (put up with), the wrongs others throw at you or do you retaliate?
- Are you more willing to fight for yourself than others?
- Are you protecting the things that God has established in your life?
There’s a saying in the church community that if you can’t say “amen”, you should probably say “ouch”. I’m saying “ouch” as I read through level-twelve. It just means we can do better. Love is to always keep others safe.
Having Level-Twelve Love
Common: Ordinary people limit protecting their loved-one to just the things that can harm them.
If the person who says they love us allow us to do things such as chemical substances or alcohol abuse, what kind of love is this? I say keep your weak-love to yourself. If your love allows me to waste my college education by not going to class, studying, or taking my education seriously, what kind of love is that. I say keep your weak, unloving-love to yourself. If your love allows me to continue to live in poverty, because of undisciplined spending habits, what kind of weak-love is that? I say you can keep this “common” love that’s not really love to yourself.
Uncommon (or No-longer-common): Uncommon individuals will protect those they love from themselves if necessary. The uncommon person will say I love you with their actions. They will go to class with you if that’s what it takes to get you through. The uncommon will go on a diet with you so that you can reach your weight loss goal. The uncommon will shave their heads when you lose your hair from treatments so that you don’t have to feel alone. The uncommon will make room at the table for you when no one else will sit with you.
What we call “normal” y’all isn’t enough; it’s not working and we have decided to do something about it. Learn how to love properly even if you start here on level-twelve: love is to always keep others safe.
You ought to know what time it is. Insert your name into this statement and say it with me.
<Your name> is mastering level-twelve love. <Your name> is always working to keep those I love safe.
Question: What did you learn from level-twelve love that helped you grow? Share your comments with me below.