“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
What is love? That is the age old question that poets, philosophers, lovers have all tried to answer since the beginning of time. For all the billions of people in the world, there are probably just as many definitions of love.
My own definition of love is a pure appreciation of someone as they are, knowing their full potential (seeing the spirit of God within them) and desiring them to be, do and have everything that leads them to their highest good. Love makes you joyful – it’s an awe of the goodness you see in someone. Love is everlasting.
Love feels wonderful, love does not hurt. Sometimes the separation from someone you love hurts but it is not love itself that ever hurts and the expression of hurt is not love.
Sometimes we worry about people we love but that is not an expression of love, it is worry.
Sometimes we lust for other people, places or things…we desire to be with them or have them for a while and then we don’t feel good about it afterwards – this is not love either.
Think of how much we say we love ice cream but if we eat too much we get sick or it makes us fat – that is lust. Love is good for us and we can never give or receive too much.
Or sometimes we say we love an object so we spend money on and then regret it – that is lust. The value of what we love never decreases.
Or we can be in a relationship with someone we are really attracted to but they don’t make us feel good emotionally – that is lust too. Love makes you feel worthy and important.
Someone who loves you honors your free will and wants for you what you want for you and if you love someone, you want for them what they want for themselves. That is what makes it unconditional. Love has no expectations, only desire for all good things to come.
Love brings only goodness to your life and feels wonderful and that can be your gauge if you are on the path that leads towards God or not.
Just as there are likely billions of different definitions of love, there are billions of different views and understandings of God.
Yesterday we talked about how the Bible says “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) People I think can easily get a view of God that is more fear based than love based and when that happens, I like to substitute God’s name in the above verse:
“God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, nor boast, and He is not proud. God does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, nor is He easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.” (adapted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
That is my definition of my Heavenly Father. And the world would be a completely different place if everyone had a relationship with God knowing these truths about him.
During the Lenten season, when we know we are sinners, when we know we have work to do but we may not know where to start, I like to substitute yet another name for God and imagine Jesus saying those words and asking us all to follow his ways.
“I am patient, I am kind. I am not envious, nor boastful, and I am not proud. I am not dishonoring others, I am not self-seeking, nor easily angered, I am keeping no record of wrongs. I am not delighting in evil but rejoicing with the truth. I am always protective, always trusting, always hopeful, always persevering. I am never going to fail.” (adapted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Lord God, our heavenly father, help us to know your love, help us to see and taste and hear and smell and feel your love in everything we do. And help us to be like you – to be love, to be loving and to know we are loved.