Our version of true love is broken. We look at it as an attraction, a sexual desire, a feeling or an emotion, but none of these things is really love. This is why, even in marriage, we’re at war with one another. We say marriage is 50/50, and we split the difference when we break it apart (though none of it is ever TRULY equal, and the two halves entering in never seem to be whole coming out). We jump from relationship to relationship, friendship to friendship, neighbor to neighbor, enemy to enemy, and each time, we fracture ourselves and others, with pieces of themselves in us and pieces of ourselves stuck in disjointed places in them. This is why bitterness, anger and hatred rule, but we continue to fool ourselves when talking about this idea of “love.”
True love, as God designed it, is so much deeper than our limited, broken imaginations can think of. It is the only form of love that makes one bigger by participating in it. Here is what I mean: in a human to human relationship, typically we, in our worldly mindset, set the other person up as an idol, hoping they will fulfill something within us, whether a desire or a longing, which never hits the mark one hundred percent of the time. In such relationships, we usually end up feeling emptier than when we engaged them. Yet God’s love is so much deeper than ours, so much greater, so much better than anything we can ask or imagine. Jesus describes such a love as a “stream of living water,” which flows from those it grabs hold of.
True love comes from complete and utter surrender to God, the only source of love that is not broken or a mockery of His design. As He pours in to us, we fill to overflowing, and that love flows to others, on and on, and never running out. It is why we can love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, because it is a completely unselfish love that flows out, not in, and seeks nothing for itself. This love sacrifices, and seeks to please the source, and since that source is God, it only continues to grow as one gets closer to it! So seek to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. It is only when you do this that this love He pours in to you will allow you to love your neighbor, even your enemy, with perfect, unselfish love.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.