What is “Love” to you? How do you describe Love? How do you define Love? We have read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 New International Version). Or we have observed definitions like, Love is a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties”, and/or “attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers”, and/or “to hold dear”, and/or “to like or desire actively” (“Love,” 2019). Tina Turner in her ballad, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” referred to love as a “second-hand emotion”. What’s that? By the way, I love the hit song from the 80’s and Angela Bassett in the movie (1993) was phenomenal. But back to the point… a second-hand emotion? So, love is something that is received after being used by another? Maybe this is a post for another time.
It is no wonder that we can be confused on the question of Love. There are many definitions and descriptions for what “Love” is. Not to mention, there are different types of Love and different stages of Love. Someone recently asked me in conversation to describe qualities of Love as it related to family. I offered them my thoughts then and continued to ruminate on the request after the conversation. Back in grade school I learned about nouns and verbs. Can you remember reciting these words: “A noun is a class of words that refer to a person, place, or thing,” or something like that? What about verbs? “Verbs are a class of words that show action, occurrence, or state of being,” as I am reminded by a quick Google search. So, as I read the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, I see a few words that describe nouns (adjectives) that help me to recognize Love. Love is patient (agreeable, tolerant), kind (attentive, thoughtful), and truthful (honest). What “action”, “occurrence”, or “state of being” words (verbs) are Love-oriented? A person demonstrates Love-oriented actions through goodwill, humility, honor, selflessness, delight, and forgiveness. Love offers protection, faith, optimism, and resilience. Frankly put, a positive-healthy Love is found in this passage.
In our family, romantic, and other relationships; we should see these attributes of Love. If these characteristics of Love aren’t consistently exhibited in your close relationships, including your relationship with YOU; take steps to receive the Love from yourself and others that you deserve. Begin your own self-loving journey, practicing the characteristics described earlier (patience, kindness, honesty, goodwill, forgiveness, selflessness, delight, hope, and strength) in your life. Avoid falling into old unloving habits and walk with others who are on the same positive – healthy journey as you. Acknowledge the challenges, work to overcome the barriers, and keep working towards your new “Love” goal. Keep your positive-healthy vision in front of you regarding Love, stick to making the vision a reality! You can do it! “These three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is Love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 New Living Translation).
Love. (2019). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.