Thousands of books have been written on the subject and love songs abound; some sing of unrequited love and others of perverted love. Few use words that really speak of true love. We as humans say that we love one another, but do we? We send out Hallmark cards when we care enough to send the very best, but they are simply pretty pictures and words on a page. Some people totally loose themselves in what they think love is, sacrificing who they are to meet the neediness of a partner, while others who say they love demand that a partner change and become like themselves, hoping to finally feel loved.
Many of you have attended our seminars and you have heard us spout off what we believe is the finest definition of love: “My God-given power of choice to do that which is in the best interest of another, regardless of my feelings.” But is that truly an accurate description?
The concern in the above definition is the interpretation of “best interest of another.” Determining that may require a doctorate degree in psychology, and even then your decision may not be accurate. What exactly is the best interest of another? Is it that they learn a lesson that will stand them in good stead from then onward? Is it bowing and curtseying to their expression of want or need? Is it believing every word that comes from their mouth, regardless of its sincerity, and how does one determine how sincere another person is? Should we follow the Biblical instruction: “By their fruits you shall know them?” Do you determine sincerity by what they do for you and if they do it in the way you want them to? And then there’s another conundrum – what about you who are doing the determining? An in-depth look at yourself might determine your motive.
You who are longing for love and determining if you are or are not receiving it . .
– Are you coming to the relationship from a sense of emptiness – empty because you never knew the kind of love you needed as a child?
– Are you placing your partner or friend in a parent position, expecting that person to fill the emptiness left by an absent or abusive parent?
– Are you so rejected that you find rejection rather than acceptance and love under every rock and then reject the other who is in relationship with you?
– Do you have some kind of criteria . . . a rulebook of your own making that a partner or friend must conform to in order for you to feel something which you determine to be love?
– Are you in the business of comparisons – expecting each person to conform to the behaviors and attitudes of someone you felt loved you?
To be sure, we have asked a lot of questions here. These are designed for your contemplation. Be careful to not rush through this article to say that you have accomplished that task. Use it as a tool for internal examination.
In your opinion, is the ultimate answer to this love thing found in Scripture?
“ . . . love is patient, love is kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs, does not delight in evil, it rejoices with truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and it never fails.” (This is abbreviated but all points are contained – 11Corinthians 13)
If this is how you determine what love really is, you are equating it with Christ’s characteristics, and it can be a challenge to live up to that!! In reality, there are so many things that cause us to not be able to meet this challenge. Remember all those life experiences when you were a child? They set us up to live in self-protect, in survival in an attempt to keep us safe – seeing to it that we aren’t hurt again. Unfortunately, living from the survival brain devoid of the loving and vulnerable characteristics of the heart, causes us to hurt others and inadvertently to be hurt again anyway. Why should that be? Because our caustic and self-absorbed behaviors cause friends and family to distance in order to protect themselves, and their distance re-wounds us!
Recently the news reported about a couple who had been married over 60 years, and had partnered totally in life and business. They were always together. On an excursion into town together, they were broadsided by another vehicle. In Intensive Care Unit, their beds were pushed together and they lay there holding hands. The husband’s brain waves and respirations ceased, but his heart kept beating, encouraged by the heart of his wife. When she died, about 90 minutes later, his heart stopped beating as well. Were those hearts beating as one? Without a doubt they were. When the Good Book stated that the two shall be as one, it was speaking of the entire body!
Having read all this, now ask yourself the question: Do I really love, or is my survival brain dominant? What bits am I holding out from the one nearest and dearest to me? What part do I hold back from my Creator? What should I do to love according to the Biblical model?
We would love your response to this article – your words of wisdom, your testimony, your questions. We will eagerly await your comments!