What is Love?


“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” – 1 Cor 13:7

You know, love is probably one of those things in life that as we grow older and as we mature in our age, it changes it’s meaning. And to find love’s definition, unfortunately we have a thousand and one definitions, and that’s scary, because…well whose definition do we follow in the first place? There are songs, movies, tv shows, magazines, books all desperately trying to take a stab at painting a picture or at least offering a mere definition of what love is to them. The thing is what the media says about love, isn’t totally wrong, because they’re just defining it as how they think it ought to be. It only becomes “wrong” when we try to use that definition and apply it to our own lives. Love in a way is unique to everyone’s experience.

To me, growing up throughout my young adult years I tried to also find what love really meant. From songs, to movies, to reading books, I tried to formulate what love means to me. I remember when I was dating some years back, I even looked to see what the bible said about love. My best friend, (who is now a pastor) pointed me to a verse, which I would go on to refer back to over the next couple of years and it’s taken from 1 Corinthians 4-8 :

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous,

it is not inflated it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails

When I read this verse, back when I was just a 20-year-old-in-love puppy I was sure this is what love was. Somehow reading this verse made me feel more “matured” than the rest of the folks around me. I knew this is really what love is and should be. While I may have found what God thought love is, I never fully understood it, though I read it countless times!

Later on in life I had come to learn that when Paul wrote that, he wasn’t talking about romantic love, that I and so many others who have gone before me thought that that’s what it’s about.  The love that Paul was talking about here is a different kind of love, the love that comes from God, and allows us to bear the sufferings, injuries and patience of those around us. Paul uses Love to explain it’s very nature and it’s greatness. We all have often heard in the lyrics on how the singer sings about how much he would go the distance or he would swim oceans just in the name of love. Well in that same regard, we are also shown that love is also capable of enduring pain, struggles, difficulties. We are told that true Love is able to endure and persevere.

Lets just take a step back and think about it for a minute. Think about what Paul is trying to say. The love that he talks about comes from God and in a way it gives us that grace to endure the difficulties and hardships we face, especially when it comes to the other person. The same love that gives us feelings and charges us to swim the seven seas in the name of love also charges us and calls us to be patient, to be understanding, to be kind, to be tolerant, and to accept the short comings of the other person.

As a 28-year old adult, when I look back at this verse, the same verse I read 8 years ago, the meaning has completely changed for me. I find the meaning to be so much more richer and much more meaningful to me.  Because ultimately, I know (and you would also know my dear reader) that love is not JUST a feeling, but it’s also a conscious decision. To love when things you’re wearing the pink-stained coloured glasses is soo easy, and it’s so good that you would be tempted to think “oh this is what love really is!”.

While I don’t deny it that yes, that is what love is, I would also think love is just more than that. Right now in my life, I’m blessed to be heading towards a relationship with someone and I noticed that I spend a good amount of my time consoling her as she has some issues that she’s dealing with, so much so one day I admittedly told her “you know, you sharing all these struggles with me in a way does help me to become a better person….” She was quite taken aback

“I thought you would say that this would be a burden to me?”

Her response got me thinking. It got me thinking because I know the old me would have certainly thought that it would be a burden alright. But then it also got me thinking about the discourse Paul mentioned about love. And that’s when it kinda hit me. This is what perhaps love really is.

Although I must admit it’s a struggle even for me too sometimes.

I mean to be patient when the other person can get away scott free?

To be kind when it feels like the person is taking you for a ride?

To persevere when it feels like the other person doesn’t even appreciate you?

Yes it’s hard. I know cuz my own wounded heart has asked these questions before. But I would like to think of it this way, and I know it sounds cliche, but I believe it bears some truth nevertheless. I would believe that true love, GENUINE TRUE LOVE is able to endure and persevere. Why do I say this? Because genuine true love is not based so much on feelings, but on a decision ; a decision to love no matter what. A decision to hold on during the stormy rides; to be there no matter what.  Feelings will be zapped out during the stormy rides, but it’s the DECISION that ensures you stay the course and continue on the journey and not just call it quits and throw the lifeboat and jump out the boat!

While alot of guys would probably disagree with me as many would say “dude, don’t be stupid, if the girl doesn’t want you just move on”, I refuse to accept that. Of course I will concede that there is a limit and a line to how far you would go to hold out, but I am tempted to believe that if you really and truly care and love for someone, it really is worth the effort.  And somehow I also believe that the other person whom you’re after will eventually be able to see you for what you are and will love you for that. Alot of effort (ALOT!!!) nevertheless worth the battle!

And that’s why sometimes I think love should only be for the Braveheart or the Noble Knight.

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