Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Real Love

When I was growing up I remember my dad sitting us down and sometimes before talking to us he just said "I love you."  That was that.  It was just a statement of fact, and it felt like it.  It was great, I knew I could rely on that.

Looking around at people and the media now, I see so many different flavors of "love", if you will.  Underlying most of these is the presumption that love is a feeling.  I disagree.

To me love is simply a commitment to put this other person before yourself.  
I will do my best to help build you up and give you in my limited wisdom what I think you need, even at the expense of myself, no matter what happens
That's it.  Any feelings that come along for the ride are a bonus, they have nothing to do with love itself.

Think of it!  If 2 people are totally committed to outdoing each other in giving and helping and building up the other, that is a marvelous thing.  That is a strong relationship.

There is another aspect of this.  Conditional love vs Unconditional love.  Unfortunately a lot of relationships now seem to have an underlying unspoken condition:

I will love you as long as this good feeling lasts 
I will love you unless you do something that hurts me
I will love you while it's convenient
I will love you until you no longer love me

There's an underlying selfishness in there that needs to be squashed in order for real love to happen at all. Real love is unconditional - no matter what you do or what happens, I still love you anyway.

When real love happens it's all about them and not about you.  Making other people the priority in your life is very difficult sometimes.  The good thing is this is when real growth happens.  When it does hurt some.  When you have to sacrifice

And for the most difficult aspect of love of all:  as a Christian, I am called to love everyone.  Even people that don't like me, or that I don't like.  Especially those people!  How can I do that?  Hey you, I love your soul by Skillet is a song that has the most beautiful lyrics about love that I know of and hints at an answer:
Am I a man who knows how to love
When you hate what you fear the most
I'll wash your feet as you spit in my face
Hey you, I love your soul
I'm gonna love when you hate
You can't outrun or escape this liquid
My life poured out like water
I'm gonna drown you with maddening forgiveness
Hey you, I love your soul
I can't depend on your hate to define my love
Am I strong enough to love your soul
Love doesn't care to receive what it gives
Bleeding compassion to the extreme
Love stretches out to die for its enemies
Hey you, I love your soul
Love doesn't care to receive what it givesLove stretches out to die for its enemies.  How awesome is that!

Putting someone else before us and practicing real love is one of the most difficult things to do in this life.  Especially with someone that doesn't respond in kind.  It is also the most important thing we can do.  Thankfully we have a mighty ally on our side that will give us all the strength and comfort we need.  

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