“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” – Charles Dickens
My wife loves chocolate, specifically the kind where chocolate and peanut butter meet in a passionate love affair. When we first started dating I realized: I don’t need to buy this girl a box of Godiva chocolates to win her heart; grab that mega-sized Reese’s and she’ll love me forever.
We’re married, so yah, it worked. I discovered the way to a woman’s heart. Take that Shakespeare.
In our current day and age, understanding the true nature of love is about as easy as understanding why people watch “The Bachelor”. The truth is there for us to see, but we would rather entertain our minds with lust and unrealistic fairy tales.
As a follower of Jesus, my heart believes that true love was demonstrated in the life of Jesus, bringing us back to life by laying down his own. This isn’t a book, so I can’t go too far with that, but take a look at the Gospels for yourself and tell me that you don’t see true love jump off the pages.
Even if you don’t follow Jesus, you have to admit one thing from his example: sacrifice for someone else is always the greatest demonstration of love.
Have you ever watched the movies where the guy/girl is in love with a total bum, while the eventual soul mate is constantly serving and loving, despite being invisible to the one they love? It rips your heart out, right?
On the other hand, you have those absurd romance films where the guy looks like Hugh Jackman, he has a great sense of humor, he drives a Jaguar, he has a 6 figure job, he works out all the time, he has great teeth, and he has eyes for no one else. Ladies, if that’s someone you’re waiting on, I hope you enjoy collecting cats, because you’ll need their affection the rest of your life.
“If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.” – C.S. Lewis
Love is not free.
So…What is love?…Really?
Instead of giving you my own definition of love’s true nature, let’s go with a greater source:
“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always ‘me first’, Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.” – 1 Corinthians 13:3-7
To love someone means that you are inviting them to know the real you, not the person who takes two hours to get ready every morning. Love says, “I’m entrusting my time, my brokenness, and my heart to you. Please tread carefully.”
To love someone, you have to be willing to embrace even the most broken pieces of the other person. You must be willing to serve and to invite them into your world if love is to be present.
If you’re single, yet looking for love, what characteristics are you truly looking for in a spouse? Answer that in your own heart and be honest…God knows your heart better than you do, so you can’t fool Him.
Maybe you’re in a relationship, yet you know that it’s not built on true love, but rather lust. Get out. It’s not worth it. Life has enough regrets without a broken relationship being one of them.
Maybe you’ve been dumped by someone, which has left you feeling heartbroken. Some relationships won’t last, even if you felt like they were so “right”. As my friend, Nadia Thomas said:
“You don’t need ‘closure.’ Your closure is knowing you’re a catch + they were too blind to see it. You’re a gem. Don’t settle for a rock.”
Know your own worth. If the Son of God would die for you, I think that explains your true value. If someone doesn’t value you enough to love you with grace and sacrifice, then they don’t truly love you. Wait for true love, not the plastic kind you see on “The Bachelor” (yes, I love making fun of this show; deal with it).
Knowing your worth and then reminding someone else of their worth is where true love begins.
That is what true love is.