We all talk about being in love, staying in love and wanting to be loved. We become disappointed and disheartened when that either doesn’t happen or the one we thought we loved didn’t love us enough.
Some of us fall in and out of love like we change our clothes. Some of us say we love and then our behavior shows differently. Some of us have no clue how to love because we really don’t even like the person, we just lust after them and when that has run its course we are gone. Some of us don’t even like ourselves so how can we love ourselves.
In order to love someone else we must first look within. We must first learn to like ourselves and then love ourselves warts and all. Love is not about the clothes we wear, the places we visit or the feelings we find in the pit of our stomach, that is hormones raging.
To find out the true meaning of love and what it stands for we must go to the Bible. It is filled with example after example of love. True unconditional love.
It gives many examples of the types of love, how we are to love and why we are to love.
Let’s just start with one of the most well-known verses,
John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Let’s just think on this for a moment. How many of us are willing to give our child up to be killed in order to save someone else. How many of us are willing to love someone else enough that we would send our child to their death? I venture to say none of us. But God did. He knew what would happen when he sent his son to the earth. Because he has the big picture. He could have stopped it at any time. But he loved us enough.
John 15: 13 tells us this 13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How many of us are willing to make that kind of sacrifice”. I would dare say not many.
Now let’s get back to the meaning of love that is real love.
I Cor. 13: 1-13 is the best example of how real love works.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Real love is enough. Real love puts others first, it is quiet, meek, it is not proud, or self-centered, it makes sure the other person always comes first. Real love does not keep a score card of the wrongs that someone commits against the one they love. Real love always protects, always trust always hope and always perseveres. Real love never ever fails.
When we say we love someone, do we really mean it? When we say we love ourselves do we really mean it? Or has the word love become like so many others, it gets lost in the translation of the moment.
Are we ready to throw in the towel when the journey gets a bit bumpy? Do we hold grudges and try to find ways to get revenge? Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and wish we were this or that way? That is not love. Do we truly understand the word and what it represents? Or do we live in a TV fantasy world that life is happily ever after. Life is not always happily ever after nor is it perfect. But we can have the perfect love if we follow God’s example. If we understands he loves us enough. Enough to never turn his back even though we leave him, enough that he gave his son to die in order that we might live, enough that he hurts when we hurt. Enough that he knows our every need or desire even before we do. God loves us enough, but do we really love him or ourselves or others enough?
When we are willing to step out of our own way and understand that unconditional love is the only true love, that it is enough then and only then will we be able to have a relationship with our self, God and others. Then and only then will we be able to make life long commitments to our self, Our God and others.
This process begins with YOU! only YOU! can be the change.