This week in the Barbershop, I found myself bringing up the topic of love to several of my clients. What I found was that this might be the most misunderstood concept in society today.
One of my clients is a young successful social media marketer. He has a lot of knowledge in the way of marketing and his services have helped a lot of people. He had an interesting thing to say about love. It went something like this:
Him: “I think everyone naturally loves. It’s comes innate to every human.”
Next, I asked him how he defined love. This was his answer:
Him: “(long pause)…hmmm that’s a tough one, how would you define it?”
Me: “Nope, I asked you first, you’re not allowed to agree with whatever I say”
Him: “You got me…hmmm, well I think it’s like, everything, you know?”
Me: “(after a Sam-style chuckle) So, I asked you to define it and you literally did the opposite of defining it. You made it more vague. How can you say we all have it if you can’t say what it is that we have exactly?”
Him: “Well, it’s an emotion so it’s hard to describe you just know how it feels.”
The conversation went on and on and more conversations on this topic helped me to see that love is really misunderstood. For the most part, the consensus is that Love is an emotion.
In the world, love is an emotion. But in the Bible, love is a value.
Emotions are things like happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, or fear.
Values are things like fidelity, commitment, honor, or persistence.
Emotions are felt. Values are displayed.
1Corinthians 13:4-7 shows us how love looks. When it says, for instance, that “love is patient and kind”, scripture isn’t telling us that love means patience and kindness, but rather the outworking of love is patience and kindness. When the value of love is present, these things will be manifestations of it.
This is why Proverbs 27:5 says that “open rebuke is better than hidden love”.
Now affection and love often go together. But sometimes love acts alone.
Feelings are fickle things and when affection for your spouse or your child or your friend flies away, If you value love, you will love anyway. You will continually work for their well-being.
In the world, affection is always a prerequisite for love. This is why “we just fell out of love” is such a popular reason people separate today.
But the Christian believes that one of the qualities of this God-given value is that it endures all and never ends (1Cor 13:7-8).
Our love goes on regardless of our emotions.
How does Christian love look? No one put love on display like God. Romans 5:8, 10 says “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…for while we were enemies we were reconciled by the death of his son” John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God’s love was not merely an emotion. It is a value that went to work in the greatest possible way. Jesus didn’t die for nice people. He died for his enemies.
If a person holds that as the example of how love is displayed, then there is nothing their spouse or children can do to them that would ever disqualify them from love. No matter how you’ve been hurt, you’ve never been scourged and crucified. Jesus was and he endured it for the very ones who murdered him.
If your love looked like that, it would endure all and it would never end.
The world doesn’t need it’s version of love. The world needs God’s love.
Let’s go put it on display!