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  • Writer's pictureSylvia St. Cyr

What is Love?

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

What is love? Is it just a good feeling towards another person or thing? Or is it something more?

The world is infatuated with the idea of love and we all need love to truly be alive. But unless we know what it is, we will simply be pushed and pulled through life by our emotions. That is a dangerous way to live.

Speaking of emotions, I’ve been doing some studying. Emotions absolutely have a place in our lives, but to be run by them can easily bring chaos. Emotions should be in the car of life, yes. But not in the trunk where you try and forget them, and not in the driver’s seat.

We all need love, that much almost anyone on this planet could agree with. However, to know what real love is, it must have a definition. This in fact goes for anything in the world.

If love is something in truth, then it mustn’t be something else. For example, light cannot be dark or hold darkness. Then it wouldn’t be light.

So let’s define love and then key in on what real love isn’t.

When people get married, they say vows and make promises. In other words, it is about setting agreed upon guidelines to keep a marriage healthy and strong.

Setting these boundaries and guidelines is what gives marriage meaning and purpose. Otherwise, anything goes and nothing matters. Look at almost any country song and you’ll see when those vows are broken, pain and heartache ensue, rather than feeling good about not having boundaries.

Back to the definition. If love is patient, then by definition it automatically cannot be impatient.

The most comprehensive and proper definition of love, that is all encompassing and has stood the test of thousands of years, is found in 1 Corinthians in the Bible. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Thankfully that definition in both regards expands on what love is… and isn’t.

Real and true love:

  1. is patient

  2. is kind

  3. delights in the truth

  4. always protects

  5. always trusts

  6. always hopes

  7. always perseveres

Therefore by definition, love cannot:

  1. be rushed

  2. be mean

  3. spread lies

  4. purposefully hurt

  5. be untrusting

  6. be filled with hopelessness

  7. give up

I appreciate the Greek as they were bright enough to recognize that there are different kinds of love. In the English language, and others, there is only one word.

Of those Greek words, ‘Eros’ defines romantic love. ‘Philia’ describes brotherly love and authentic friendship. ‘Agape’ describes empathetic and unconditional love.

In all three of those Greek descriptions of love, the same definition of real love from the Bible still apply.

On the flip side, if love can simply be whatever you want it to be, or any good feeling, then anything goes. When anything goes, then love could actually be hate.

But to know love, real and authentic love brings joy. It can save people from despair and it also gives meaning to life.

What is an example in the real world of the true definition of love? The life of Jesus.

He walked this earth, gave and shared his thoughts and wisdom with any who would listen. Then, when the world wanted Him destroyed, He died for them all. At that time in history, it was also the most brutal death imaginable.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” – 1 John 3:16

Love is sacrifice. It’s selfless, giving, and full of grace. It speaks and even delights in the truth.

You can start to see that while love is kind, it’s literally one of the defining words for it, love is also more complex than solely ‘kindness’. Sacrifice can be painful. Speaking the truth can be so hard. Hence why I’ve said before that love is also messy.

But real love is always worth it. To pursue it, to know it, to live it, and give it. How can we do this?

We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Getting to know God and His great love for us, His children, will allow us to see the world as He does. When we see the world through that lense, we can love the people around us with a love that gives life. Rather than the cheap, only based on emotion or feeling, that the world calls love.

It’s the most worthwhile pursuit.

I feel like I barely scratched the surface on this topic so there will be more blogs to come. But what I want you to know right now is that you, reading these words, are loved beyond your wildest imagination, as you are. Isn’t that good news?

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