This post stemmed from my last “What If,” so I guess you can count it as a second part. Or you can just read it as its own topic. Either way, I kinda have a love miniseries going on.
I talked a month or so ago about how we misconstrue the definition of love. We see it and speak of it as something that comes and goes, something flighty and unstable. Something like a feeling. But the Bible makes it perfectly clear what love is in 1st Corinthians 13:
“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.
“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Or how about John, who said it better than I ever could in his first epistle:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
So what if we got it all wrong?
I’ve already established that there is no love apart from God, that God is Love, and that love doesn’t mean acceptance or approval—it means changing someone from the inside out for the better. It means the power to bring the world to its knees.
And we understand that, don’t we? That’s pretty easy to grasp. Puts the whole “love your neighbor” thing into perspective, doesn’t it? Sure, it’s difficult, loving someone like that, but that’s the choice we as Christians have to make.
Wait. Wait a minute. Hold up there. What did I just say? Did I just call love a choice? But isn’t it a feeling? You know, like that warm feeling in your heart when you’re with family or that tingling in your toes on your wedding day? Something that can change and fade over time? Because, I mean, seriously—do you really think my flighty, emotion-led heart could ever hold on to something as powerful and deep as love?
Yeah…that’s the point of this post. Not to convince you that love doesn’t equal acceptance or that I shouldn’t be expected to approve sin just because I love you.
Nope, this time I’m focusing on a lesser known aspect of love. Or, rather, the unknown definition of love.
Love as a choice.
So many relationships fail—from marriages to parent-child and sibling relationships to friendships—because people simply don’t understand that love isn’t something that comes and goes. It isn’t an emotion. Happiness, sadness, disappointment—those are emotions. But both love and hate are states of mind and being that you choose.
What if we started choosing love instead of waiting for it to just show up or hoping for that warm feeling? What if we quit labeling flighty emotions as “love” and being so disappointed when our “love” fades? What if we understood that love is the greatest weapon God has given us, able to change hearts and lives—more importantly, our hearts and lives? What if we understood that it was love that led Jesus to the cross, not a fuzzy feeling toward us or even our sin?
I think relationships would be stronger and divorce rates would go down if people started choosing to love their spouse and family, no matter what. I think lives would begin to change for the better if people understood the power of love. I think more sinners would be saved and more Christians would rejoice in their salvation if they realized that God so loved the world.