4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
We live in a world that is so polarized, and no word is more polarizing, shockingly enough, than love. We have cries about "love is love" and "you can't help who you love" and "I was born to love this way." All of these definitions of love, though, are geared more toward physical attributes as opposed to love at all. Gender specific love: I love someone of a different gender, or the same gender, or a non-binary gender, or whatever other term you choose to use speaks to a lack of understanding of what love is at all. Love is not based on attraction, nor on definitions we make up for ourselves. It is based on self-sacrifice. I'm not talking of Romeo and Juliet, I'm talking of a love that gives all for others, and a love that seeks the welfare and benefit of others before its own desires, and even its needs.
I think most love in the world is selfish. I'm just going to come out and say it: it's a reason we have so much confusion on the subject, and why we utterly reject God's designs, and so follow our own lusts and definitions. In the movies we watch, the songs we listen to (and sing along to), the books, novels, poems, games, and everything else we fill our minds with, most love portrayed, even in Christian circles, is selfish and self-centered (it's great to say look what Jesus has done for me, but if a song of worship hardly mentions God at all, who does it worship?). Why? Because we don't understand what love truly is. We have Christians angrily shouting one another down, being downright rude, only because they can't put aside differences, and agree in Jesus. Does this sound like we're following the New Commandment? Does this sound like we're loving one another as Jesus loves us? Not at all. We point fingers and accuse, we look down on one another, belittle each other and try and gain victory over one another because we don't really or truly understand the self-sacrificial nature of true love. Love is ALL about Sacrifice. God has made sacrifices throughout our history: He let Adam and Eve choose their own fate, knowing the heart break he would feel (Try reading "Adam, what have you done" while trying to remember every time your own heart was broken). God told them what would happen, knew what would happen, and yet was not tyrannical. Now, some 6000 some-odd years later, we act, even in the church, like we can still call the shots, when in truth, we're shouting to drown out the Holy Spirit's call to repentance. Love does not insist its way is right, but allows, like God in the Garden, for the others to choose what to do with the great self-sacrificing love that is given. True love says "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do" as they're casting stones, or nailing you to a tree. True love is Jesus. Apart from Him, we are just playing childish games and pretending it is love. 1 John 4: God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he