I Wanna Know What Love Is
by Angela Sutton
Webster could not possibly include all the filters we sift our feelings through that encompass how each of us defines love. Our definition of love can be so easily distorted due to everything from smothering affection to horrific abuse. For some love is about hanging in there at all costs and for others it winds up being about letting go no matter how much it hurts. For some love is completely nurturing, while for others it becomes about taking a difficult tough love stance.
Some hang on to one basic hope to get through and that is that God loves them, while others go through things that cause them to doubt God ever loved them at all. Different experiences, different definitions, different demonstrations shape and form, sometimes twisting and distorting what true love really is.
Ever had your love tested? I have. Some days I find myself on top of the world in love and others I find myself wondering whether I’ve ever loved or been loved at all. I’d ask if you’ve ever felt like that but assuming if you’re reading this you are human, I know you have. If you are in relationship with any human being there are issues that arise to test the depth of your feelings. It is easy to love someone when they fit the hidden checklist of our expectations. Don’t think you have that checklist? Time for a little self-examination and honesty, don’t you think? It’s also easy to love someone when they don’t act outside our invisible boundaries. When someone walks, talks and acts like we want them to, love comes easily. When they treat us the way we want to be treated, we eat them up. When they give us much and require little, love comes easily. But what happens the minute they step outside the boundary of our definition of love? What happens when we step outside the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves? We do that too and that’s where self-loathing or self-hatred sets in. It’s a crazy thing, this love and I truly believe the topic cannot be exhausted nor do I believe there are any two opinions exactly the same on the subject.
But, I will say this. As elementary a principle as it seems, I have one true belief. That pure love comes from Agape love, the love of God toward us. If we gain a true understanding and allow the truth of God’s love for us to become rooted in our hearts, the other branches of love will grow healthy and full. The heartaches we’ve experienced and the devastating pain that human love or lack of causes us will all be healed when we truly understand love from God’s perspective and from the perspective of Jesus who gave all in love toward us.
I John 3:16 says, “By THIS we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” It is simple – by this we know it and by this we should show it. The Word goes on to explain that if we have the goods of this world, see someone in need and shut up our hearts from them, we don’t get it. That means our material goods AND our ability to love another. If we do that, love, the God kind of love or Agape is not in us. I John 3:18-19 says, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.”
I know you’re hurting. I know that while on one hand you are loving and being loved, on yet another you are finding it hard to love and feeling extremely unloved and forgotten. That’s just how it is when you are human. God knew that. That is why he so carefully gave us His Word. He knew we’d need it along the way and we should refer to it often. It’s a little like refreshing yourself on game plays or taking a refresher course to boost your skills. Sometimes we just need to be reminded and set straight again.
Today, with all the many definitions of love and with all the loving and not loving that is going on in the world, I just want to remind you . . . By this we know love . . . He laid down His life for us and He says we should do the same for others. If you are doing that today, you cannot go wrong. If in the process you get hurt, remember it hurt him but look at the joy it brings Him every time we share His love with another! And if you’re feeling unloved today or wondering if God loves you, remember this . . . He laid down His life for you . . . laid it down, voluntarily, gave it up . . . for you.
Reprinted from The Well which in turn obtained permission from Angi's blog: faithamidchaos.blogspot.com