“Love means never having to say your sorry”
–Love Story Circa 1970
There are a lot of definitions out there of what love is, and what it is not. The pontificators range from Oprah to Barry Manilow. Do we really understand what love is? The above quote from the Oscar and Golden Globe winning hit movie is a complete misrepresentation of what love is, at least from a biblically inspired understanding of God’s intended love for man. Over the years, I’ve given and received many greeting cards (Hallmark as well as others). They always fall short of really expressing love in my opinion. I always wonder when someone signs their name to a commercially generated sentiment. I know, I know,… it’s the thought that counts! But does it really? Is the thought love?
I want to give my thoughts on the matter of love.
Let me start with a brief explanation of what biblical love is not.
1. A feeling or emotion (though is comes with much feeling & emotion)
2. A question (I love you…?)
3. About sex (there is a sexual love, but sex is not love and love is not sex)
Here is what love is, as defined by the scriptures:
First, we have the definition of what it looks like, in 1 Corinthians 13
” Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor 13:4-7 (NASB)
Of course when we look closely at Paul’s definition,.. really it’s a painting of Jesus.
Billy Crocket did a great job of documenting this in song.
Here are some thoughts that might be new to you. Thoughts that don’t always get considered when we talk about love.
• Love is tough. -Paul “turned a man over to Satan” for discipline. –1 Corinthians 5:5
It would be hard to call Paul unloving. He expended his life for the gospel and others.
• Love can be brutally honest. Jesus called his disciple Peter, Satan, when he opposed him. –Matthew 16:23 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” –Prov. 27:6 Sometime people think that just saying kind things is the loving thing to do… after all, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” 🙂
• Love has expectations. Jesus requires obedience from the ones who love Him. –John 21:17 There are reasonable expectations in love. Jesus expects that if we really love Him, we will obey Him. With husbands and wives, there are reasonable expectations that go with the marriage relationship. They are not negotiable.
• Love is commitment. Love costs more than a Hallmark card. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NASB) Sometimes we feel “out of love” and we throw in the towel on a relationship. The love of God demonstrated in Christ went all the way.
The Son of God, demonstrating ultimate love, was stretched out on a wooden cross, after being beaten beyond recognition as a man. There He was nailed, there He hung, until the penalty for sin for all the world was paid in full.
I would love to hear from you. To you what did I leave out? What IS love? What ISN’T love?