What Is Love?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I was inspired to visit an old essay I wrote. I have decided to re-write it and re-publish it here as I know this topic will be of good use to you.

This is what I have to say.

For years, in an attempt to define or redefine love, I’ve filled whole books. 

I’ve said that “Love is knowing when to be quiet, even when it hurts.” That Love is “like the washing of waves” and “anything that’s done with Love is done with care.”

It may be that we have used the word Love too often that its meaning has become obscured. 

The dictionary tells us that Love is (1) the profoundly tender or passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex; (2) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or sometimes to a friend; (3) a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person, sweetheart; (4) affectionate concern for the well-being of others; (5) strong predilection or liking for anything; (6) the object or thing so liked; and finally, (7) the benevolent affection of God for his creatures, or the reverent affection due God for them. 

These are how the world has made and mentioned Love all these times. Despite the world’s many definitions, I think Love is both more and less than these descriptions.

On earth, the supply of love will never exceed the demand. There are always people who wanted to love and be loved. If your have both right now, then consider yourself extremely blessed. Not everyone can have both at the same time.

There are people who wanted, needed love but the one they expect to give it to them doesn’t, thus they say “love is nonexistent.” 

There are people who have a lot of love to give, but the one they wanted to give it to rejects it, thus they say “love is an illusion.” 

There are people who didn’t want or need any love, and consequently doesn’t give any love, thus they say “love is being selfish.” 

And finally there are people who have been hurt too many times in not getting what they want and are just confused about love and loving, thus they say “we cannot define love.”

In knowing Love, one must have a lot of patience. Time will come when we will know Love, we just have to wait. Different people needed different times, I guess. 

We also must have a lot of hope. In this crazy world we live in, it’s really easy to give up on Love and say, “ahhh… I just don’t know what Love is” or “I don’t know if Love will ever find me.” 

And a lot of faith. For who is best to define Love than He who is Love. We just have to believe. 

It is our choice whether to believe Love or not. Anyway, it was Love Himself Who gave us all the freedom to choose.

I like how Dr. Peter Tan-Chi, our senior pastor at Christ's Commission Fellowship, defined Love. This is what he said:

"Love is from God. Love is an unconditional commitment directed towards imperfect people to seek their highest good, which often requires sacrifice, resulting to the glory of God."
This definition says that Love is a choice rather than a feeling. 

Nobody is perfect, so the object of your affection can, and will, sooner or later, disappoint you in any way. 

Love is choosing to stick with that person, despite the disappointments, frustrations, hurts, etc.

Love is seeking out the best for your beloved, even at the expense of your own convenience and welfare. 

Imagine if both partners would seek the highest good for each other. Now, that would be great. No, more than. It would be perfect.

Love is being defined every day. Sometimes Love’s definition is right smack in our faces, we just don’t want to accept it and believe it.

Oh, by the way, here is what Scripture has to say on Love:

I may speak in different languages of men or even angels, but if I don’t have love, then I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy; I may understand all the secret things of God and know everything; and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I don’t have love, then I am nothing. I may give everything I have to feed people, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned, but I gain nothing by doing these things if I don’t have love.

Love is patient, and love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not boast, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, love is not selfish, and love does not become angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it.

Love is not happy with evil, but love is happy with the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. Love always trusts, always hopes, and always continues strong.

Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will be ended. There are gifts of speaking in different kinds of languages, but those gifts will end. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will be ended. These things will end, because this knowledge and these prophecies we have are not complete. But when perfection comes, the things that are not complete will end.

When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child; I made plans like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. It is the same with us. Now we see like we are looking into a dark mirror. But at that time, in the future, we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part. But at that time I will know fully, like God has known me.

So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.