“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” -1 John 4:10
What is love?
Ask the world what it is, and you’re likely to receive a Disney version of true love-hopelessly falling head over heels in love with someone and blissfully living out the rest of your life in complete happiness because of the way you feel. Others would say that love is just a strong emotion that you feel.
But what happens when the feelings are gone? What happens when difficult trials in life are faced? So often, these are the situations where marriages and relationships fall apart. It’s easy to love others when everything is going well and when they love you back. But when troubles arise, feelings get hurt, and difficulty mounts, love gets a lot harder.
Why does loving become more difficult when things get hard? When you go through a period when your relationship with a friend is strained or tested, you’re not getting anything out of that relationship from that other person. There’s conflict. This is when it is hard to love. Unfortunately, our willingness to love often goes only continues as long as we are “getting something” out of that relationship. This is not what love is.
We need to rethink our definition of love.
1. Love can be hard. Contrary to popular opinion, real love is a commitment- not a feeling. What are some difficult consequences of love?
-In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” If we love those who hate us, it will require that we die to our desires.
-Jesus also says, in Luke 21, that those who follow (and therefore love) Him will be hated for His name’s sake. Our love for Him will bring negative earthly consequences.
-Another example of love that isn’t easy is when we confront our friends or family and point them to the Bible. Often, this is the hardest thing to do because we are afraid of offending them or losing their friendship. The Bible is filled with examples of loving correction. Proverbs 27:6a says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Friends are to sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17).
In my post tomorrow, I’ll continue with re-defining our definition of love.