THAT THING CALLED LOVE
Roy Cleveland Sullivan was as a park ranger in the United States. He was also a Guinness World Record holder for being hit by lightning seven times and survived them all!
Sullivan died in 1983. His death wasn’t because of a natural death or an 8th lightning strike. He took his own life because, some say, it was because of unrequited love!
A counselor once said, “”The number one reason for suicide is love. The number two reason for suicide is the lack of love.”
WHAT IS LOVE…REALLY?
For some, love is a feeling. It’s something that suddenly sweeps them away. For others, love is an action. That’s why we spend time with and do things for the person we love. While love involves feelings and actions, these don’t give us a complete picture of what it really is. For many, they are still unsure of what it really is.
The reality is that the world is offering us counterfeit forms of love. If we do not know what love is and are not careful, we will end up with an imitation of it. How do we spot counterfeit love?
According to several banks, the way to spot counterfeit money is to know and be very familiar with the real one. Likewise with love, we have to be familiar with the real one in order to identify the counterfeit one. The only way to do so is to go to the Author of love—God.
1 John 4:10-11 says:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
God’s love is unconditional. Many people use this term inaccurately. When you ask a person why he or she loves someone “unconditionally”, he or she will answer, “I don’t know! I just love the person.” That is not unconditional love; that’s blind love!
Michael Ramsden, a distinguished speaker, once said, “True love doesn’t exist in the absence of judgment. True love exists in the presence of it.” In other words, we can really say that we truly love a person after we have truly known them, which includes their past, their sins, their insecurities, and their weaknesses.
Deep within a person’s heart is the desire to be fully known yet to be truly loved. In his excellent book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller writes: “When over the years someone has seen you at your worst and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.” He goes on to say, “But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
God’s love is willing. Even though He knows everything about us, He chose to love us. That willingness moved Him to give His very own Son, Jesus.
God’s love is sacrificial. John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
We learn that God’s love for us unconditional, willing, and sacrificial. This is in complete opposition to worldly love, which is conditional, reluctant, and selfish.
So how does God’s love for us relate to romantic relationships?
Well, now that we know how God loves us, this is how we are to love others (including our future partners or spouses). First John 4:11 again tells us, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” And unless you can give (or at least shadow, even imperfectly) unconditional, willing, and sacrificial love, don’t mindlessly enter into a romantic or exclusive relationship.
We are to love others unconditionally, willingly, and sacrificially. Are you loving others in this way?
This article was originally from the author’s blog at enzocortes.com
Enzo Cortes is a student-volunteer for Christ’s Commission Fellowship’s (CCF) youth ministry. He is active in reaching out to the students from Taft Schools. He also handles a small group of male college students and mentors them on Christian living and leadership. Enzo enjoys speaking for youth and young adult groups, inspiring them to live Christ-centered lives. He loves to write blogs, read Christian books and blogs, run long miles, drink coffee, and eat donuts.