What is Love?

Hello lovely people of the internet. It’s Monday. The start of another work week for most and the start of this new series for all. Welcome to Loving Mondays, adding a little love to your Mondays on the regular.

We’re going to start with the question: What is love?

What pops in my head at this question is the song, “What is love? Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.” But I don’t think that song actually answers the question it poses. (Also, the music video is something else. I’m not quite sure what I watched.)

I recently asked the men in my relationship class to define love. It wasn’t an easy task. They all had different definitions, with some unable to put it into words. But that’s the thing with love. We all experience it differently. We know it when we feel it but might not be able to describe the feeling.

According to Dictionary.com, love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.”

So, we have this feeling that we get when we love someone. But love is more than a feeling. Love isn’t just a noun, it’s also a verb. To love someone requires action. You may not even realize that an action is involved. It just seems like a natural part of loving someone, just like breathing is a natural part of living.

I’ve worked with people who have both abused and been abused in relationships where they believe love exists. They tell me that love is jealous and possessive. They say that love has a temper and is paranoid. They say love is selfish. They say that love hits, traps, and yells. But they’re wrong. They are so very wrong.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us what love is. Most people have seen or heard that “love is patient, love is kind, etc.” Verses 4 through 8a (or the first part of verse 8) are used often in this love conversations.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

It lists all the things that love is and isn’t, which is what we’re discussing today. What is love? We see in these verses that love cares about others. It is selfless and humble. It does not keep a record of all the good it does for others, but instead gives with no expectations of something in return. Love is honest and pure. It does not seek to harm others but instead help. Love isn’t something that goes away at the slightest thing wrong. It endures. Even in the face of hardship, love thrives it doesn’t fear.

Love is amazing. And love can seem scary. Sometimes we think about how wonderful love is and wonder whether we can do that. If love is all goodness rolled into one thing, are we even capable of showing it?

Love is all these wonderful things, but more importantly, love is God. 1 John 4:7-21 tells us about God’s love and ours. In verse 8 it tells us that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” and in 16b it states that “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

God is love. I know that this is a difficult concept for some. I know that people have questions that start, “If God is a loving God then why…” The thing to remember is that this is a fallen word. And this is just a temporary place for us. This isn’t our forever home. And in spite of our mistakes, failing, and sins, in spite of our doubts and fears and unwillingness to always be obedient, God showed us love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

This is the ultimate example of love. Not only did God create us in his image back in Genesis, but He sent Jesus down to earth. And this man who was fully man and fully God died a death for things He did not do to save us. Selfless love at it’s finest.

So, what is love? Love is being selfless and humble. It is forgiving and not holding a record of every time you’ve been wronged. It is wanting the best for others and not being envious when they receive it. Love does not end.  It may change, but it never leaves or forsakes you. God is love.

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