What Love is, and What Love isn’t

Many times I come across people who I shake my head and just wonder how they have come to have such a distorted view of love. Everyone has someone they tell “I love you”, but many times their actions don’t match up with their words. Mothers and fathers who have abandoned their children, and then show up for birthdays or only call and tell them they love them. Sometimes they don’t even call for several years and then when they do call they tell them they love them. And I just shake my head and wonder, how do they think they know what love is?

Unfortunately, there are many people who have a distorted view of love. I’m not sure exactly what they think it is, because I can’t understand how someone can think they love someone who they abandon or abuse (physically, sexually, and mentally). I often have wondered, do they know they do not really love this person they have hurt so badly and they just continue to say it to help themselves sleep at night, or do they really THINK they know what love is.

After much thought I believe God has led me to the answer, here is what it boils down to: Someone cannot give what they do not have. It’s like offering someone a coke and then going to the fridge to get it and realizing you never went and bought any soda from the grocery store.

People have a distorted view on love, because we live in a distorted society. Many people we know grew up in a home where love was not present, and so they grow up and raise THEIR children in a home where love is not present. These people have learned to say all the right words in order to adapt into society, but they cannot truly give love, because they have never received it in the first place.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from non-believers is about how people will commit horrible acts and then claim they are a Christian. I would say it is better to assume that these people have not really found God, than to assume that God made them that way. God does not make people bad, but people make God look bad.

Mathew 7:15-18:

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

Here, when it is talking about false prophets it is speaking of exactly what I just mentioned. People who claim to know God and then do really horrible things, which tend to make God look bad. But here, we are being warned about them. And we are told that people, who have the true spirit of God, cannot produce bad fruit! Or in other words: cannot perform unspeakable acts and live with themselves, God wouldn’t allow it. Our conscience would tear us apart.

It is unfortunate that many people grow up not knowing love, but it is up to them to break the cycle. And that is what I pray for, that those who do not know love will pray to God and ask Him to give it to them. I like to use quotes, and for this post I have picked one from the movie “Fireproof”:

Caleb Holt: I did everything I could to demonstrate that I care about her, to show value for her, and she spat in my face! She does not deserve this, dad! I am not doing it anymore! How am I supposed to show love to somebody over and over and over, who constantly rejects me?
John Holt: [John Holt strokes the large wooden cross, and turns to Caleb] That’s a good question.
Caleb Holt: Dad, that is not what I’m doing.
John Holt: Is it?
Caleb Holt: No. Dad, that is not what this is about.
John Holt: Son, you just asked me: how can someone show love over and over again when they’re constantly rejected? Caleb, the answer is: you can’t love her, because you can’t give her what you don’t have. I couldn’t truly love your mother until I understood what love truly was. It’s not because I get some reward out of it. I’ve now made a decision to love your mother whether she deserves it or not. Son, God loves you, even though you don’t deserve it. Even though you’ve rejected Him. Spat in His face. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sin, because He loves you. The cross was offensive to me, until I came to it. But when I did, Jesus Christ changed my life. That’s when I truly began to love your mom. Son, I can’t settle this for you. This is between you and the Lord. But I love you too much not to tell you the truth. Can’t you see that you need Him? Can’t you see that you need His forgiveness?

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

4 Love is patient, love is 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;[a] 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, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 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. 12 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.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Again, it is my prayer that those who do not know love will pray to God and ask Him to give it to them.

<><  Summer

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