What is true love?
Last Tuesday was valentines day…A day set aside to celebrate love. But is that really what was celebrated? Have you ever thought about what love is? How it is defined? What it looks like when you put “feet” to it? It’s not as simple as you might think.
I used would go to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for teenagers about once a month to talk about “Love,” more specifically, God’s love. I would always start out the conversation by asking about movies or songs that talked about love just to get their minds going. Can you list any popular songs or movies about love?
It’s a fairly easy question for most. Their answers ranged from Love Shack to songs and movies that I had never heard or seen – and by their title, I would say I am most likely better off for having not. Most movies and songs define love as something purely physical. No action, no emotion, no selflessness, just sex. Subsequently, that’s how society defines it as well – As seen in the picture below.
Nothing says love like some cheap wine, chocolates, and personal lubricant. It’s all about sex. (I hope you sensed the dripping sarcasm.) For the most part, this is what is celebrated on Valentine’s day. When did love start equating to sex? How did we twist it so far around? Sex can be a part of love, within marriage, but it isn’t love. Sex is not the essence of love. We, as a society, have taken love and twisted it so far around that the minor part has become the whole. Consequently we have lost all the other aspects of love. (Which could account for a large portion of the lack of respect, patience, and understanding we have for one another in society. Love, taken in the physical form, is all about self. Instead of being selfless, our society has become a selfish, greedy, backstabbing, slandering…sorry, that’s for another day)
The English language is an example of the loss of meaning for the other aspects of love. I can say “I love Dots” and “I love my wife” and mean something entirely different. Fortunately the Greek language affords us a better explanation.
i. Eros (ἔρως érōs): Romantic love, intimate (in ancient Greek, desire).
ii. Philia (φιλία philía): Love (but especially “platonic”) (in ancient Greek, friendship).
iii. Agape (ἀγάπη agápē): Divine, unconditioned love. Sometimes Christians will refer to the love that they receive from God as Agape Love.
iv. Storge (στοργή storgē) Natural affection
These terms are used throughout the Bible and in different contexts so that we might understand what love really is. God has explained what love is; and I could list multiple verses like John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, or Romans 8:35-39 to prove the point that we, as a society, have lost a true understanding of it’s meaning. Music and movies say it all. Very rarely does a song or movie come out about love that doesn’t involve something physical and it’s meaning is not construed.
Most of us remember a lot more when we see it, rather than when we read it. So, I want to give you a picture to keep in your mind that we might all have a better understanding and remember what love really is. Dick Hoyt, the father, gives us a small glimpse into what God’s unconditional love for us is like. He loves you more than you will ever know. He loves you in a way that is beyond our comprehension. This is true love. (All 3 videos tell the same story. The first is the best, but you have to go to YouTube to watch it. Be sure to continue reading below when you are done)
“God is love” 1 John 4:8. He will do what it takes to show you true love. Will you join Him? Will you love others as He first loved you? Redefine love in your own life by starting with your family and loving them just as they are. It’s not easy. If it were, everybody would do it. Be different. Go against the flow and look out for other’s needs before your own. Serve. It’s interesting that the more I seek to serve my wife, the more she wants to serve me. But the more I seek to serve myself through our relationship, the more distant we become in our relationship. “16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18