What is LOVE?

There has been a lot written about LOVE. But what is it?
LOVE is a strong desire to please or be accepted by another. We refer to different types of LOVE. While each type is used in a different context, the concept of love is the same. The need to LOVE and be LOVED is written in our DNA. Our father gave this to us as our inheritance to give freely to others.

The Greeks described the way LOVE is used in different situations. They saw brotherly love as different to family love or neighbourly love. Whatever the situation is, the one thing that does not change is LOVE. Interestingly, the Greek word for sexual desire (Eros) is not mentioned in the Bible and is considered as false, forbidden or wrongful (Error).

Brother + LOVE
Family + LOVE
Neighbour + LOVE

Love has 8 parts,
Patient: not jumping to conclusions or making rash decisions,
Modest: unassuming, humble,
Giving: not jealous or envious,
Forgiving: non demanding or irritable, not holding past transgressions against others,
None judging: accepting others for who they are,
Truthfulness: Honest to ourselves and others,
Enduring: Faithfull, hopeful, never ending.

A lot of people confuse other feelings as LOVE. Desire, greed, envy, craving, obsession, gluttony, control over others, dependency on another, and even sex are all feelings and behaviours that we attach the label of LOVE to. Our sinful nature often gets in our way. Impatience, envey, pride, unforgiveness, dishonesty and giving up are all feelings and emotions that may control our lives. How often do we put conditions on our love for others? How often do we feel let down because we have not been recognised for what we have given. How often have we felt like a “mushroom”, or left out of something? How often have we been the cause of some hurt or damage because we have felt unloved?

Where is the LOVE in our lives? Where is the hate in our lives? Do we not feel these emotions? Where do these emotions come from? Are we not human if we do not LOVE or hate? Whatever we believe or understand, whatever theories we have about life, however we treat others, or are treated by others, we still have feelings, and needs that need to be met both in the physical and the spiritual world. We laugh, we cry, we are envious and proud, we look to and compare ourselves to others. We search for LOVE in this physical world. We all have this most basic need inside of us. Some look for this LOVE in the physical world but all they find is false promises and emptiness.

We LOVE our spouses. We LOVE our children and parents. We LOVE our pets … etc. LOVE is so much a part of all doctrines and cults that it is taken for granted. But where does this LOVE come from?

Without LOVE there is no hope. There is only lonleness, emptyness and despare. Love gives us hope and a reason for living. LOVE is security. LOVE endures in this everchanging world. LOVE can also be fragile if it is not well grounded. LOVE can be twisted and used against us if we we look for LOVE in the wrong places. LOVE is not found in the physical world.

God is LOVE
LOVE does not come from outside, but from inside. It is the genuine LOVE for others that comes from GOD the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that makes us whole. GOD does not judge. GOD does not destroy. GOD is patient. GOD accepts us for who we are. GOD LOVES us.

God made us in his own image. God is LOVE and the Holy Spirit lives in us all.

How can we hurt another person if we have a genuine LOVE for them? After all didn’t Jesus remind us that while it is OK to LOVE our brothers we are no better than anyone else? It is only when we have a genuine LOVE our enemies that we really know our fathers LOVE.

Does a husband LOVE his wife? Does a wife LOVE her husband? Does a father/mother LOVE his/her children? Does a child LOVE his/her parents? But how do we show our love to others? Unfortunately there are a lot of people who have not experienced this genuine LOVE that comes from our father. Love to some is being abused physically or mentally. Love to others is being locked away or abandoned, or a complete lack of empathy, respect or interest. We can also give to another any amount of physical bits and pieces, but if we have not given them LOVE we have given them nothing.

Tough LOVE

A lot of people talk about “Tough Love”. Jesus never mentioned this. On the contrary, Jesus spoke about patience and kindness. He spoke about going the extra mile if they asked for an inch. He talked about turning the other cheek. Jesus did rebuke others out of LOVE. He got very angry when somebody did something out of self righteousness or greed. He certainly reminded us who was in charge.

Tough LOVE has two dimensions. To LOVE our enemies can be very hard sometimes. Jesus asks us to make some tough decisions about how we should be living our lives. Jesus tells us to LOVE our enemies, to give to others without seeking reward. Jesus asks us to die to self and freely give to others. This can be really tough to do sometimes, especially when we have been hurt. To correct another person’s thoughts or behaviours about what is right and wrong can also be tough for a person to do. How do we really know what to do in a situation? Do we admonish and judge the person out of self righteousness of self interest? How often do we jump to a conclusion based on our own experience or some preconceived ideas about the person?