Always Wondered What True Love Is? Here It Is…
I can’t say how many times that I have been browsing forums and I see, “What is the definition of true love?” or, “Does true love even exist?” Each person may have a different answer. Whether you are questioning what love is because of bad relationships or you are curious, I feel I have found the perfect answer:
“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.
[1 Corinthians 13:4-8.5]
To love, we must have patience. What type of love are we giving if we don’t have patience? Patience is needed to address the needs of others, to listen, and to trust in God when those in the world disappoint us. I find the definition of patience to be interesting because it states, “T patient, ” It doesn’t mean we can’t be annoyed or have a bad day, but our attitudes show. We are capable of going through a bad day without spreading the negativity onto someone else. On our worst day, we can still listen to someone who is hurting without feeding them our own troubles as if they have more importance. Patience can be difficult, and as people we observe actions that lack patience every day whether they are from others or ourselves. It takes patience and perseverance, but the more patience we learn, the better. The action of patience can make the action of love more effective.
Love has a difficult time existing without kindness. I mean, think about it for a moment. What would love be without kindness? It wouldn’t be. Kindness is to be thankful, sympathetic towards others, and to have a willingness to do good. Kindness can range from holding the door open for someone to buying a sandwich for the homeless person sitting on the corner. It comes in all types of forms, but it is not cruel. Kindness may or may not cost you anything depending on the action. How interesting kindness can be. When I think of “kindness”, it reminds me of this awesome video below:
Envy is a unique word, and yet it is something that love is not. I assume this applies to the obsolete “envy” term, which means “ill will.” To have ill will towards someone or wish for bad things to happen to them is not love. In anger, some may get angry and think, “I hope you get hit by a car,” or something of the sort. These are not the thoughts that we should harbor in our minds or in our hearts. These are destructive thoughts and it is easy to show them in our actions. I can also see how also the modern day term of “envy” would not apply to love. Why envy what others have whether it be their success or their money when God has given you the things that he wants you to have? God isn’t going to withhold the blessings he wants to give you out of your grasp. When God believes you are ready for a blessing, He will give it to you. The term of envy we are familiar with is not a type of love and can drive us deeply into sin.
Does Not Boast
How many times a day do we boast? Some probably more than others. It is not love to boast. Boasting is to speak about yourself with with excessive pride and exaggeration. If we are too focused upon ourselves then how are we ever going to focus on others? We can’t put the action of love into effect when we are busy spouting the confidences in our success. In marriage, perhaps while you have been slaving around the house cleaning, taking care of children, cooking, etc., your husband has been slaving to provide an income to make all of that possible. When he walks through the door and you rant about your day and how horrible it was, it adds a lot of stress. It is adding stress to your already stressed husband who has been working hard as well. Same if your husband walks through the door and brings you down with his awful day. It isn’t doing anyone any favors. Start by trying to focus on others a little more each day at a time. Notice the difference it will make to open the door of loving others.
It Is Not Proud
Pride is not a quality of love, and is the opposite of humility. It is putting yourself, your importance, your dignity, your superiority on top of everyone else. How are you to love if you feel you are above everyone else? You would never be able to put yourself on the same level as someone else in order to truly listen to them, love them, and understand that you are not the center of the universe. Throw pride out the window if you want to show love in a relationship.
Does Not Dishonor Others
Dishonor is a fascinating word to me. There are many cultural meanings to the term of what defines “honor” and “dishonor”. Honor from how I see it is being respectful to others and to not harm them or shame them in such a way that hurts their feelings. I feel that bullying others is a dishonorable action. I don’t think anyone would call someone who dishonors others a “kind” and “loving person”. We may dishonor others without thinking much of it, but we must pay attention to our words and our actions. Do be respectful to others. Most people in this world don’t want shame to be brought upon them. This could also mean doing something to bring shame to your husband, your wife, or your children. It could mean doing something that brings shame to your mother or your father.
Don’t put your sole focus on yourself, but on God and on others. I don’t mean neglect your needs completely because it is important to take care of your body. I do however mean to put God at the center instead of yourself, your spouse, or whoever may be on the list of the ones you love. A relationship without God can be a relationship that is vulnerable to attacks from the enemy. Serving and trusting God instead of focusing on that car you absolutely have to have or that five hundred dollar purse you want put your trust in God that he will give you blessings in His time. Focus on being kind to others rather than trampling over others and putting each need or want ahead of everyone else.
Not Easily Angered
Anger is a human emotion I’m sure we’re all familiar with. It is so easy to become angry at something especially when we’re hungry, tired, or stressed. Married couples know that arguments aren’t inevitable and they do indeed happen. We shouldn’t be easy to make angry, but rather have patience and an open mind when listening to one another. If we let our anger rage throughout the room during each little jab to our character it will create chaos in a relationship. If one or both people in a relationship are easily angered, important topics can become nearly impossible to talk about. This is where the need to practice patience comes in.
Keeps No Record of Wrongs
How many of us are quick to put a black mark right below someone’s name? Someone make us angry, we’ve marked them as an intolerable human being. If they have slighted us in some way, we are quick to the “you owe me!” Often times we call this “holding a grudge”. Love does not hold grudges against others. Holding a grudge is the opposite of a forgiving and loving personality. This is difficult considering how easily it is for us as humans to do this. It is hard, but not impossible.Jesus Christ not only came to be a perfect, sinless sacrifice and die for our sins, but he also showed us that we can live a life surrendering to God and showing love in all that we do. We are to forgive as Christ forgave us.
Does Not Delight In Evil
But rejoices in the Truth. How often do we get caught in our evil desires and in lies? Evil desires can be the temptation to cheat on a spouse, telling a lie to a co-worker, plotting to harm someone, stealing from others, etc. Check out Exodus 20 for the Ten Commandments. They are God’s Moral Law that we are to follow because this is what we will judged on when we reach judgement day. How many of the ten commandments have you broken? I know I have broken many of them. None of us are perfect, but through God’s mercy and grace He gives us a choice that is free for every person to make. We can choose to give our lives to God and read the Bible daily while following his word. Alternatively, we can reject it all together. Enjoying these evil desires against God’s law also goes against the act of loving one another. How can love exist when there are evil desires in one’s heart?
Love Always Protects
Love protects one another. Protecting is one of the specific actions (along with trust, hope, and persevere) that love shows. This means, we watch out for others and we stand in faith through the difficult storms of life with them. In marriage, this can seem impossible. It is easy to rip into the feelings of those we love most because they are closest to us. They see the storms of our life and we see theirs. In marriage, there will be storms that overcome us and it feels that we can’t get through them. We are to protect each other, not speak ill of each other, and approach God in prayer. With love, we can overcome many difficulties that may arise.
Love Always Trusts
Ever had a relationship with someone that wasn’t based upon trust? Have you ever been in a relationship where someone broke your trust? I assume it wasn’t a fun situation. It hurts deeply. This is an important element in a loving relationship. We trust each other by being slow to believe character destroying rumors about each other. Also to trust each other before believing any deceptive information about each other. The enemy is always out to destroy any loving relationship. Marriages are a common target for the enemy and we must be prepared. I remember many times hearing information about my husband that would make me see him negatively if I were to believe it right away. Instead, I shrug the rumors off until I ask my husband about them first. 99% of the time, these rumors were not true! So what if I would have believed them? How awful that would’ve been on our marriage!
With hope, we see the good traits of others. We can have hope (along with trust) that the other person will make the right decisions each day. I hope that my husband will make Godly decisions each day when he ventures away from home to do his job. I’m sure he has hope in me that I will make Godly decisions at home. We hope as God has given us reason to hope. Christ is our hope.
The definition of persevere is interesting, it states, “T ” In a loving relationship, we shouldn’t abandon someone completely because everything became complicated. All too often in marriage this can happen and if it is severe enough, sadly can lead to a divorce. Many married couples can describe their difficult times that put their marriage on the edge. We vowed during our wedding to take on life’s difficult times together. When the enemy shoots his flaming arrows at us, we take it to God, keep praying, read our word, and hold on tight. Perseverance isn’t easy, but with practice, your relationships and marriage with thank you for it.
Love Never Fails
Probably my favorite three words in this verse. Our love may not be perfect at times and need work, but true love will never fail. God’s love will never fail because He is perfect love.
So What Does This Mean For Me?
While we are not perfect, these aspects of love can be difficult to achieve. Whether we apply these in our marriage, towards our children, to family, and even to complete strangers, love is something we practice. Love is a learning process and love is a verb. Love is something we do; something we put into practice. We aren’t born knowing how to be a loving spouse, mother, father, or child. Jesus Christ came to this world not only to die for our sins by being a perfect, sinless sacrifice, but also to show us that it is possible to live by surrendering oneself to God and showing love in all that we do. Wondering if you need God? If you have given your life to Christ, read these amazing tips to Save Yourself Some Pain.
[image credit by Ben White on unsplash.com]