How many times have you heard your friends say that they’re in love with someone? Or how many times have YOU been in love? Are you sure it’s love?
Okay, it’s honesty time. Judge me if you want, but I know this is true for the majority of us humans.
If I like a girl, I would go to great lengths to get her to like me back. Agree, boys?
But is that love? Absolutely not. It’s “like”.
Like is an emotion. Love is an action.
Before I go on, I’ll begin with a disclaimer that I most definitely am not an expert on love or relationships. My knowledge and understanding is solely based on my limited past experience, secondhand experience, and the Bible. So let’s begin with what the Bible says about love:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The foundation of love is SELFLESSNESS.
It’s funny/amazing to hear all the stories of how hard people would strive for love. Some would travel long distances to surprise their loved ones. Some would spend so much time and money to make their loved ones feel special. Some would suffer personal hardship in order for their loved ones to live a better life.
You get the idea…
“You’d do stupid things for love.” I heard that somewhere. It’s not necessarily negative. It just goes to show how much you would do for someone you love.
Back to my main point: Driven by LOVE, not LIKE.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, you can like someone, yet not love them. It works backwards too. You can love someone even if you don’t like them.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment…
So it is possible to do acts of love and kindness to people even when we don’t necessarily like them. “Our actions can bring change to our feeling and our thinking.”
Hypothetical case study: A guy likes a girl. He did all that he could to get her to like him back. It looks like everything she did was adorable! “I really REALLY like her,” the guy declared. The girl felt the same way about the guy. Eventually, they entered into a relationship with one another. As they got to know each other, they found out one another’s weaknesses: habits, quirks, manners. It came to the point that those weaknesses drove each other crazy. So, the relationship ended with both unable to reconcile their differences.
Now, here’s the contrasting story.
Real life case study: A guy likes a girl. They got married. Their personalities constantly clashed with one another. The longer they stayed together, the bigger the differences between them showed. It resulted in regular emotional arguments and fights. Both became more and more defensive that a peaceful relationship seems way too impossible. While out of town, the guy slammed the phone down after another fight on the phone with his wife. In the shower, he yelled and shouted at God out of frustration that his marriage was unbearable.
No, he didn’t want divorce, but he couldn’t stand the turmoil in his marriage. “God, change her heart!” was probably his prayer throughout the relationship. But God spoke to him that night, “You can’t change her. You can only change yourself.” The guy was silent. “If I can’t change her, God, then change me.”
The guy came home to a marriage in the same state that it was when he left. In the morning, he turned to his wife and asked, “How can I make your day better?”
Cynically, the wife answered, “You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.” The guy got up and cleaned the kitchen.
The next day, the guy asked the same question, “What can I do to make your day better?” To which the wife replied, “Clean the garage.” He was tempted to reply in anger, but he swallowed his pride and went to clean the garage.
This happened over and over again every day until the second week. The guy asked her the exact same question. The wife broke down and wept. “Please stop asking me that. You’re not the problem. I am. I’m hard to live with. I don’t know why you stay with me.”
He lifted her chin and they were staring into each other’s eyes. “It’s because I love you. What can I do to make your day better?”
“I should be asking you that.”
“You should,” he said. “But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me.”
She put her head against his chest. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean.”
“I love you,” the guy said.
“I love you,” she replied.
“What can I do to make your day better?”
“Can we maybe just spend some time together?”
“I’d like that.”
(taken from Richard Paul Evans’ personal experience)
When we’re driven by love, we’re not looking for any self gain. We’d work so hard and sacrifice so much just to keep the relationship intact. There’s no profit.
You might argue, “What’s the point of love if you can’t enjoy it?”
I’m not saying you can’t find enjoyment in love. But I am saying that enjoyment is not the priority in love. If we truly love someone, we would be willing to sacrifice our pride, our time, our possessions, even our lives for the sake of that person despite the circumstances and inconveniences.
Love doesn’t make so much sense now, does it? Why would any normal person who values his/her life live for love if this is what love means?
For that, I’d go back to the source of love.
God does not just love us. He IS Love (1 John 4:8).
He had no business to be in the messy, dark world. He could have just wiped off the world completely and started again from scratch. But no, God loves the world so much that He’s willing to send His only Son, Jesus, to enter the world and die for the sins of mankind. What kind of God, who is absolutely perfect, would die for a world that is absolutely broken?
Only a God of love.
We can’t make God love us. It’s not about what we do that makes Him love us more or love us less. He loves us for who we are.
We may think we’re unlovable. But the truth is – and will remain – God loves us no matter what.
He loves us, and He expects us to show the same love to Him and to others.
Impossible? Not when we let God take control of our lives…