We all long to love and be loved. From the baby who sleeps peacefully in the arms of his mother to the elderly man who looks forward to the visit of his children and relatives, we all have an innate need to know how important, valuable and loved by other people.
Love is one of the most discussed topics in literature, cinema and music. There are countless books, songs and poems dedicated to him. The Bible also tells us a lot about love. In fact, it clearly tells us that God is love (1 John 4: 8) and in it we find the best example of true and unconditional love. But love as such has been distorted over the centuries. Many equate it with sex; others, with the feeling of power and control over another person. What is love really? How do we define it?
The definition of the word love
Most definitions speak of love as a strong feeling or emotion towards a person or towards a group of people such as family or friends. In certain circumstances it may refer to love towards animals or some material things. There are a variety of definitions, but in reality it is not an easy concept to define.
In the Bible we find a wonderful chapter where we read what can be considered the best definition of love. It is that of 1 Corinthians 13. In verses 4 through 8 we see how it should be, and how love should not be:
Let’s see in detail the characteristics of love that these verses mention.
How should true love be?
- Patient : suffers and endures, resists with strength the weaknesses and defects of the other person.
- Bond : offers good at all times with kindness and sweetness.
- Without envy : does not resent or be saddened by the welfare of the other person. Rather rejoices and celebrates.
- He does not praise himself excessively or is full of pride : he does not highlight his merits and qualities at all times. He does not exalt his sacrifices and efforts or belittle the other person.
- It is not rude : it is not discourteous, violent or rude, but it understands and considers the feelings and the good of the other.
- He is not selfish : he does not demand his rights or exalt his own interest. Pay attention and take care of the other person’s interests.
- He does not get angry easily : he does not lose control or get easily offended.
- He does not hold a grudge : he does not keep in his mind and heart the errors and offenses that, in his opinion, the other has committed.
- He does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth : he does not rejoice when the beloved makes a mistake. He rejoices when he acts with righteousness and correction. Search for the truth and act.
- Everything apologizes : forgive and do not spread the faults of the other person. Try to understand the reasons.
- He believes everything : he trusts the goodness and good motives of the other person unless there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
- He expects everything : he has hope and is optimistic. Trust God’s promises and be willing to wait to see the changes and blessings desired.
- He endures everything : he perseveres and remains patient in the midst of trials and difficulties. It is not passive but active; Look for solutions to conflicts with the other person.
- It never goes out : It does not end, it has no end, it does not end. It is eternal.
Where do we find that love?
Humanly speaking, it may seem impossible to love like that or find someone who loves us that way. True love is not based on feelings but on the decision to love someone unconditionally and put all these characteristics into practice, looking for what is best for the other person. How do we do it?
Receiving that love! When we experience the unconditional love of God, his forgiveness and his care, the seed of that love begins to germinate in our hearts and the desire to love others in the same way arises in us. God is the only one who can give us the ability to love with such kindness and altruism. He is our example of what true love is. God loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to this world so that through his death and resurrection we would be reconciled with him for eternity. He did it because he wanted to, without asking us anything before. And he did it for love.
Once we let the love of God fill us, we will begin to reflect its character in our relationships with others. We can not give what we have. Therefore, in order to give true love we need to receive it first. Have you received God’s love in your life? Have you experienced the healing and restorative power in it? If not, it may be a good time to open your heart. His love will transform your whole life!