- Is there a way to know what love is?
- What does “I love you” mean?
- What should it mean?
Couples who want to get married say they love each other. Couples who want to get divorced say they no longer love each other. Is love something we fall in to and out of?
- Are we victims of love?
- Is it possible to choose to love? To learn to love?
I will show you a much better way
Love is indispensable to marriage, family and community. Relationships without love are anywhere from mediocre to miserable
- Husbands are commanded to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25);
- Older women are called to train younger women to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:4)
- Christian communities are to be distinguished by their love for one another (John 13:35).
Is there an objective way to understand love? If there isn’t, how could someone follow the instructions above?
Fourteen qualities of love
The 14 qualities of true love will lift it out of the foggy place of subjective feelings and put it back in the honorable place it deserves.
“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. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV).
Reflect deeply and often on this description of love. Make it even more applicable by putting your name in the place of the word love when you read it. Loving relationships look like this.
This love is anti-rivalry. It protects relationships from hurtful and divisive rivalry. Love cancels out comparison, envy, one-up-man-ship, vindictiveness and retaliation. Playful rivalry is not bad, but when relationships deteriorate some form of divisive rivalry is always invovled.
A closer look
- Love is patient: It is long-suffering. It restrains anger when provoked. Patience is not passive waiting, it’s active restraint when provoked by circumstances or people (see: Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 4:26-27).
- Love is kind: It reaches out in good will with acts of care and concern for others. Love not only patiently forebears, it actively pursues with acts of kindness. Loving people are distinguished by kindness (see: Ephesians 4:32; Titus 3:1-5).
- Love does not envy: It does not resent the good of others. Envious people engage in evil rivalry. Enviers gloat over the misfortune of others. They delight in evil.
- Love does not boast: Love corrects a desire to call attention to self. Love does not parade self. It’s willing to work anonymously. It needs no limelight or stage; It does not seek applause or recognition.
- Love is not proud: not puffed up and arrogant; not full of self. A loving person does not think more highly of himself than sober judgment allows (Romans 12:3).
- Love is does not dishonor others: It’s not rude. It’s respects and honors others above self (Philippians 2:3-5; Romans 12:10).
- Love is not self-seeking: It does not insist on its own way. It is not self-absorbed or self-centerd.
- Love is not easily angered: It is not easily agitated or quickly provoked. Loving people are not short-fused and hot-tempered.
- Love keeps no record of wrongs: Love seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. When hurt badly, this part of love is hard to practice. (for more on – Forgiveness)
- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth: This rules out gossip, slander, and delight in the downfall of others.
- Love always protects – covers the one loved
- Love always trusts – never loses faith
- Love always hopes – looks for postitves and possibilities
- Love always perseveres – endures through every circumstance
The last four are love’s grand finale – a staccato of four verbs to make sure we understand that love always, always, always, always – protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love brings everything under its influence – “there is nothing love cannot face” (NEB).
- Love is tenacious and faithful.
- Love is brave and noble.
- Love never fails.
Love is “the most excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31). “These three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13). “Above all virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colo. 3:14).
The personal greatness of love takes on powerful significance when we realize that God is love. God’s love was put on visible display when He loved those unworthy of His love — people like me (Romans 5:8).
The greatest display of love happened when our Creator became a creature; the King became a servant; the Shepherd became a lamb; the High Priest became the sacrifice; the Sinless One was made sin for us (see: Philippians 2:3-10).
A gift for you – A wallet-sized lamenated card for daily check-up
Let us send to you (as a gift) a wallet-sized lamenated card to help you reflect deeply and often on this great description of love. We’ve put the 14 qualities of love on one side and an 8 point communication agreement on the reverse side. We will send several copies as our gift to you if you email your mailing address to email@example.com
“Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make His love visible. When we ‘do’ love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts” (Nouwen).