The United States national debt is fast approaching $9 trillion. The economics aren’t easy to understand, but the basic idea is the government is spending more money than it’s earning. Some estimate that if every working American paid nearly $300 a month toward the debt, it would take 100 years to pay it off. Others believe the country never will eliminate the debt.

When it comes to loving others, we all owe a debt that never will go away. In Romans 13, Paul calls our attention to this continuing debt of love, a reminder that loving others is not an above-and-beyond behavior. We owe it to each other to love unconditionally. (Today in the Word, May 2007)

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According to Mental Floss magazine, Barney the Dinosaur’s theme song, “I Love You” is the most influential song of the past 25 years. Why did the editors pick this song? They selected it as influential because it was used at Guantanamo Bay to weaken prisoners for interrogation. There is a place in that prison where they play music designed to get terrorists to talk. According to The Guardian, Barney’s song has been the most used.

I suppose we could understand how the constant repetition of a simple tune might cause people to give up in despair, but love itself never will.

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Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.”

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan. “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.”

With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!” She did it with enthusiasm, acting as if. For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?”

“Divorce?” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds. (eSermons.com newsletter)

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Around Feb. 14, people often turn their minds and hearts to the matter of love. Many have weighed in with their opinions on the subject. Robert Browning said, “Take away love and our earth is a tomb.” William Schwenk Gilbert said, “It’s love that makes the world go round.” Although attributed to many authors, it appears that Franklin Jones countered this by saying, “Love doesn’t make the world go around, but it does make the ride worthwhile.”

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In The Book of Babel by Mark Abley, the author says there are 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, but half of them are unlikely to survive into the next century. Here are some of the languages on the endangered list: Yuchi, Manx and Mati Ke. I suppose it is to be expected that some languages eventually will cease to be used. We hope there is one language that never will become extinct. That is the language of love.

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A group of 4- 8-year-olds was asked, “What does love mean?” Here are some of their answers:
 
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore so my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8.
 
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4
 
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5
 
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6
 
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4
 
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay.” Danny – age 7
 
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily – age 8
 
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby – age 7
 
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” Nikka – age 6

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