Someone asked me this question recently. I found myself trying to figure out what to say. We all know what love is, don't we … or do we? How do we explain and define it? What would you say? With Valentine's Day approaching, I think it is worth thinking about.
Irv and I showed a video clip to a couple recently on the subject of expectations. In the clip the wife came home from work on February 14th angry at her husband because she had not received flowers or candy at work like some of her female coworkers had. He assured her that he had a very big surprise waiting for her now . . . In the bathroom!! It was a brand new toilet with a big red bow on it!! Was she thrilled with her valentine gift? Not even a little bit. The point was that her expectations were not met. The new toilet with the big red bow represented much thought and effort. It represented an entire day of working on something that she said she wanted. She was not happy with the gift because her Valentine’s Day expectations were unmet. It was actually a loving gift but the message of love was completely missed because expectations got in the way.
Love is unselfish. It puts someone else's needs above our own. My definition of love is: “a feeling of affection that is expressed through words, actions, choices, and commitment.” In other words, when we love someone, it shows. When we use the word love, we need to back it up with loving actions, kindness, and forgiveness. We need to look past our own disappointments and expectations as we seek to understand the feelings and motivations of others. We must be gracious and patient even when we don't feel like it. We need to keep angry feelings in check.
To fully understand what love is, we need to know who God is because God is love (I John 4:7-8). God perfectly personifies love. Scripture tells us “… While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8), and “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). God made a way for us to have a relationship with Him, and He does not hold our sin against us when we repent. God provides the perfect example of sacrificial love and forgiveness!
What is love? I Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “. . . Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
It's nice to have an idea of what we are talking about when we say we love someone. It's not a vague and empty word. Love is a powerful word that actually reflects the character of God. Let's model it well.
Happy Valentine's Day,