What do you think about when you think of love? What do you feel inside? A warm feeling?
What do you think about when you think of love? What do you feel inside? Is it a warm feeling, or do you have ideas of happiness and good times in your head? I have counseled people for over 31 years, and I have found that what people call love, for the most part, is nothing close to a good thing.
As a counselor, I get into people's heads by learning how they think, what they think, and why they think that way. Usually, if I spend half an hour or more with someone, I can tell them things about themselves that they believe no one else would know. Why? Because people give away information about themselves through body language, the way they emphasize certain things, and how they avoid specific topics, issues, or subjects. That is why, after all these years, I have come to learn that being the objective of someone's love can be dangerous.
One case in point, I counseled a man once that one day he heard his wife on the phone as he got home. He said that by the way she was speaking, it sounded like she was talking with a man. He walked into the home, went into the kitchen, got a knife, and walked into the living room where his wife was on the phone. He walked over to her and began stabbing her until she died, right in front of the kids. When asked why he killed her, he said that it was because he loved her "too much to lose her to another man." Later, in prison, he found out that the man she was speaking to was her father. So, would you want that man "loving" you?
People use the word "love" as though it has only one meaning or definition that is clear and the same to everyone. But that is nowhere near the truth. Most people who claim to love someone else do not have even a simple idea of the meaning of true love. They usually think about Romance and call that love. Romance is not love
According to the dictionary, Romance is "a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love." Did you get that? It says, "associated with love." The word "associated means "like, connected, or similar to something." See, not the thing, just kind of like it. So, Romance is not "love." Romance is valuable and wonderful, in and of itself. But, Romance is not "love." Unfortunately, that is what most people call love. Romance is what they mean when they use the word love.
Okay, So, With All That Said, Where Am I Going With This?
Well, as a counselor, I want everyone to have a healthy understanding of this powerful and life-impacting word, "love." So, what is the correct meaning and definition of "love?" The dictionary says it is "an intense feeling of deep affection." What is affection? The definition is "a gentle feeling of fondness or liking." So, if we were to accept those definitions as the correct ones, then we would have to say that "love" is not Romance nor anything like it. If we go with these definitions, the best we can expect from "love" is an intense feeling of "fondness or liking." This definition means that you would feel strong emotions for the other person and they for you. The feelings, in that case, would have to be the thing on which you would focus. And, if you do focus on this emotion, it will be what will always define the word "love" for you. You will never know "love" without those feelings, and you will never know true love.
I have more "up my sleeve" than what I have written so far. I want to introduce many of you to an idea of "love" that you may never have thought about before; but that it is the most accurate form of "love." Because, if all of the above is "love," then please, I would rather you just liked me. In over 30 years of counseling people, I have never had even one single person come to counsel with me and say, "Some who likes me has hurt me, or I just hurt someone I like." But I have heard one person after another, year after year, say things like, "I love her or him, and that is why I committed adultery, beat her, lied to him, wasted all the rent and food money, became a drug addict or alcoholic" and so on. The most expressed emotion of "love" that is more a lie than the truth comes from people who think that to be jealous of another person means they "love" them. No, Jealousy means that you believe you own that person, not "love" them.
Just look at the news on TV, and you will see examples of "love" depicted by persons who have no idea of true love. People get attacked for telling the truth, speaking their opinions, loving their country, and just having the "wrong" point of view. But the attackers call it "love." They say they are "protecting" the rest of us. You will also hear of husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers, who have done some of the most horrible things that one person can do to another. There are things that people will do to each other in the name of "love" that animals would not do to each other, and they do not know any better.
Are You Looking For True Love?
The first thing you have to figure out is what we mean by the word "true?" When I want to find the truth, I look to the Bible for my guidance. My studies of the Bible have led me to understand "love" from the point of view quite different from the world. The New Testament is written in Greek. Though the people mainly spoke Aramaic (the language of the time for Jesus and others), the writers of the Bible chose Greek to write their message. The reason this is important in this article is that the Bible uses three different words for love. The first is "Eros," which refers to erotic emotion such as sex or Romance. Then there is "Phileo." This word refers to what you would call "like," which is a brotherly kind of love. That is what you mean when you say, "I love this hamburger, I love my job, I love my wife, and I love this life." They all mean the same kind of "love," the one that involves "an intense feeling of fondness or liking."
And then there is "Agapeo," better known in English as Agape (pronounced A-ga-pe, not A-gape). The encyclopedia describes it this way, "Agape is a Greco-Christian term referring to unconditional love, "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God." The word is not to be confused with philia, brotherly love, or philautia, self-love, as it embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. It goes beyond just the emotions to the extent of seeking the best for others." It's the last part that best describes this kind of love. Agape is love that "seeks the best for others."
Seeking The Best For Others
What if we all used that as the definition for love, "seeking the best for others." No, not what would be best for them and you, just them. If you include yourself in the definition, then it is not Agape. God is the best example of Agape love. He loves us because it is for our benefit. We are the ones who gain from His love. God lacks nothing since They are complete in Themselves (the Trinity). So, God loves us, and His love will always be more for our benefit and less for Him. He doesn't need us, but we need Him. So, if we all meant Agape when we use the word "love" regarding those we claim to love, we would always treat them right, correct?
So, I will repeat the earlier questions. What do you think about when you think of love? What do you feel inside? Is it a warm feeling, or do you have ideas of happiness and good times in your head? Do you still have the same answers? Hopefully, your answers now are more generous and less selfish. And, hopefully, you will go from this article and truly love those that you used to "love." Hopefully, you will do what is best for others. Hopefully, you will also be loved by others in the same way. If a married couple, for example, were to love each other in this manner, they would have a long and relatively happy life together. Wouldn't that be great?
Yeah. It's Not That Easy.
There are lots of people out there that do not want to be happy. They will sabotage their relationships by doing something to ruin what they have going on with someone who loves them. Why? Because they believe they don't deserve to be happy. They want to be truly loved by someone, but they wouldn't recognize true love if it came up to them and slapped them in the face. And, why? (again) Because they have never learned what real love is, all they have experienced has been selfish and egotistic manipulation and control by someone else. "Love" that manipulates harmfully is no love at all.
Love is not easy, but it is not hard either. Love is work; it is something you do to and for someone else. Love is not something you feel. Love is what people do to and for you, not how they "feel" about you. Love is the sacrifices you make for the benefit of someone else. For example, a husband chooses not to waste the household money used for food and rent by drinking it all away as an alcoholic. Or, maybe like a wife who does not have an affair because she is not happy in her marriage at the moment. Or, it could be like a husband who manages his anger and does not physically assault his wife. Finally, it can be like a wife who submits to her husband just as she would unto Christ Himself.
Real and true love is not easy, but it can be done. The Bible says that love "4 is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful,6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends," -1st Corinthians 13. Is your "love" like this? Do you love others this way? Do you love your husband or wife this way? Do others love you this way?