The world is full of "love comparison" statements:
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make - the Beatles
If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were - Richard Bach (or should we say "Richard Bleccch?")
Over the weekend, I was watching the Wizard of Oz for the umpty millionth time. It's like picking through a box of chocolates; you only look up for the your favorite, special parts. I'm a "Lollipop Guild" fan myself, although I also enjoy watching Judy Garland's hair get longer, then shorter, then longer in mismatched takes.
The Wizard, when awarding the "heart on a chain" to the Tin Man, says to him "You judge a man's heart, not by how much he loves, but by how much he is loved by others."
At first hearing, that seems like a decent-enough statement. But think about it: it comes perilously close to becoming a popularity contest. Loving in hope of the return of love is certainly not what we believe as Christians, nor as modelled by Jesus or taught by St. Paul. We should instead give without hope of gain, we invite to dine without hope of return, we give freely without counting the cost.
I know that there is a way of interpreting that statement, that our own lovableness, when credited to our walk with the Lord, will grow. But even famous old Technicolor movies can be unreliable philosophical guides. They all seem so clear-cut: good conquers evil, hard work breeds success, honesty is the best policy. But you see a movie a hundred times, and only on the 101st seeing does something strike a cracked note....