When we say “I love you” what do we mean?
Do we say it casually like hi and good-bye?
The meaning of love has been diluted by lust and greed.
Which is a distorted, perverted version of the pure agape unconditional love that is available to each of us.
We need to untangle and define what the meaning of real love is.
Here are my personal thoughts about the importance of real love and how that is defined for me.
But first I would like to provide a little background information.
When you grow up in an abusive environment where love and pain become one in the same your understanding and expectations of love will include a high level of expected pain. “He or She hurts me because they love me” sounds insane even to the person experiencing the situation. People don’t understand why other’s stay in abusive relationships, but right there is the reason. Another distortion of real love is physical attraction and the dopamine chemical reaction which causes the heart to race and you get excited “this must be love” but really that is lust. The problem is the chemical reaction does not last forever and one day you wake up and run for the divorce court.
I have been very close to those doors until the day came when I believe God began to reveal His love to me and change my understanding of love through his word.
I married someone who even though we both believed in God and were not ashamed to say so, we were still the product of two very dysfunctional and abusive home’s.
I had married someone whom I had known for only five weeks (can anyone say dopamine?). But yet crazily enough his childhood and teen years were a carbon image of my own.
We reacted different to our situation’s and made different choices along the way but when we met it was like two halves meeting their other part.
(Was that too cheesy?)
He was emotionally needy and I was emotionally withdrawn.
He would draw closer and I would pull farther a way.
We were a big emotional, mental, and spiritual mess.
But we were no big deal to God.
He knew how to heal us both and over time teach us agape love.
Through His tender care, and providing for us within the midst of our own chaos and life’s many challenges, there was this eventual place of peace and grace of God that would bring us through it.
But there came a time when I was desperate to really feel love and I remember reading:
Teacher what is the greatest commandment in the Law?
“Love the Lord your God with all heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Well you read it and it is very nice and simple but as you continue to read through the books of the New Testament you stumble over to 1 Corinthians 13, which is referred to as the love chapter and you read the definition of love.
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The reality is I demonstrated that kind of love intentionally with my children but rarely felt patient, or reacted very kindly to my husband.
I began to read this chapter everyday, I wanted it ingrained into my mind, heart and spirit. I didn’t want to forget it and drift away from it. This was real love and I needed to understand in the deepest parts of my subconscious, just as much as I needed to learn how to show it and share it with my husband or other people.
Then a bigger reality hit me and that was I needed to first love myself with the same agape love I wanted to give to others.
Otherwise you begin to feel like your giving of yourself and never receiving and the real giving begins with ourselves so that we over flow with love into the lives around us.
Now maybe whoever is reading this is thinking “well dah, everyone knows that.”
But I look around and I don’t see it so I thought I would put my two cents out there and hope that someone will be awakened to their own false illusions and realize the power of love to change not only them but those around them.
This post really is like a pebble in an ocean and I hope the ripple effect will be far and wide.
Results in motivation and is demonstrated by our actions not our words.
Love is a choice we can choose to love when we don’t feel it.
Shocking I know but true.
Love can be shared with those who consider their selves our enemies through the power of forgiveness and disregard for our personal egos and pride.
Love really is all we need to create a world of peace, grace and joy within our homes, cities, states and world.