What is Love?
Hopefully this time of year is filled with love. However most of our families aren’t perfect and we have occasional squabbles especially with the stress of the season and getting to deal with each other more. But my goal and challenge for you (my family or whoever is reading) is that we exercise greater love towards our family in the coming year!
So what is love? There is romantic love, love for a friend or sibling, and a parent’s love.
The Greeks had 4 words for love:
- Agape is unconditional love. It is love by “choice” even if you are not pleased. A good example is “God loves us with our faults.” It is the word used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13.
- Philia is affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals.
- Storge is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.
- Eros is passionate or romantic love.
But I think all of the following sayings can apply to most types of love. My favorite saying about love (found in the 10 commandments for marriage is:
- “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
A good one I heard in a relationship seminar was:
- “Love is about investing in another person and is for the betterment of another person.”
When I turned to google, the source of all knowledge (jk lol), some sayings that came up were:
- “Love is being your strange self all the time and have someone love you for that.”
- “The definition of love, is when you can recognize that you care about a person as much as you care about yourself.”
- “Love is selflessness.”
If we turn to the scriptures, we see they have much to say about love – that it is a commandment, to love even our enemies:
- “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy, But I say unto you, Love your enemies.” Matt 5:43-44
- “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” Matt 22:39 & “Love one another; as I have loved you” John 13:34.
And that God’s love is unconditional, universal, and intrinsic to his nature:
- “God is love.” 1 John 4:8
- “Perfect love casteth out fear” 1 John 4:18
- “There was no contention because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” 4 Ne 1:15
- “Charity is the pure love of Christ” Moro. 7:47
And finally my favorite scripture:
- “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7
How do you define love? I’d love to hear!
And what should love not be?
Love is not selfish. Love is not fear. Love is not unkind (or gossipy or backbiting or name-calling). Love is not controlling. And love should not be conditional.
Someday I hope to have children, and I imagine there is almost nothing my children could do that could change my love for them. I’m sure they could do things that would make me sad but it couldn’t make me love them less. If anything it would make me worry about them and show my love even more to them. And I love my current family – Ben (the best hubby ever! ;), my parents, sister, step-dad & step-brothers, in-laws, cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents. And of course there are friends who you love like family :). And I can’t imagine my love for them ever changing. I’m not saying we should be walked over, and there may occasionally be an unhealthy relationship that we need to step back from. But I’ve found often when people are upset (at least myself) what they really just want to hear is that you still love them.
So this year let us show a greater abundance of love. Let’s be more patient and more kind. Let’s put aside our differences and find our common ground. (Or have a debate if you like that kind of thing like me ;). Let’s not pick at each other’s faults.
Who is with me?