God is Love. And the love of God is meant to be spent-that is, expressed. But this spending can never deplete God, who is infinite and eternal.
Recently I received a note from a colleague that was so expressive of love, appreciation, and unselfishness that I practically melted on the spot. No one had showered me with that much love in a long time. I broke into tears, actually. I couldn't help it. I almost didn't think I could take in any more love for a while. I felt as if I just needed to be very quiet and realize the presence of God, who had so influenced my friend that she'd shown such kindness amid her very busy schedule.
Love pulls away the shell that people sometimes unwittingly put around themselves when they feel hurt, misunderstood, or unappreciated. Wrapped in that shell, they often appear to be very strong-but unable to love in a heartfelt way. They may seem invulnerable to hurt, but at the same time beyond expressing the love of God in daily contacts. And without the expression of love, our work does not have the healing spirit of the Christ.
Repeated problems cannot keep anyone from expressing all the love that God's children-His representatives-truly have. They cannot hinder a person's ability to love others unconditionally, trustingly. Even if we've felt love for all but our love has been taken advantage of over and over or hasn't been returned in kind, we can take heart. God's love is unconditional. It is what keeps us loving, even in the most difficult times. We can trust Him never to reject us. A hymn I hold dear speaks of sharing God's happiness, of sharing His joy and spending it freely (see Christian Science Hymnal, No. 58). It also includes the reassuring and comforting fact, discussed in the Bible, that we actually live in the house of the Lord, where we can feel secure and know with assurance that He will always be here for us and will never leave us stranded.
How do you go about spending love freely? By concerning yourself with putting it at the center of your life, showing it to be the very substance of who you are. Without at least a spark of sincere love, we are not being what we could be. Without love our work, our words, our thoughts, our actions, are found wanting.
Love is and should always be the incentive for everything we do. The Christian Science textbook says, "Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching. Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way" (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 454.) It is in expressing the love of God that healings come. This love cares for the environment, sews on a missing button, gives a needed hug, and solves international crises. It's what prompted that special note to me. To be loving to all is to be as one who is "sought out"; Love's expression is irresistible.
Concerning yourself with whether or not another person is loving you is wasted effort. The expressing of divine Love is first and foremost benevolent, humanitarian. It's living on your own the example of Christ Jesus right where you are today. Jesus expressed God's love in all he did. His mission was the expression of Love itself, carried out with the highest degree of unselfishness. Jesus cared enough to heal the sick on the spot, to destroy sin by letting forgiveness wash it away, to bring redemption where the hardness of pharisaical thought would have self-righteously stoned a brother or sister to death.
Are you afraid to love unstintingly-do you wait until another shows signs of loving you first? Then consider these words from First John in the Bible: "We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (4:19-21). The fact that we are "first loved" of God is what allows us to love freely, with a pure, steady nature. So, be yourself and love. "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).