I’ve heard a lot of people saying, “Well… love is love!” It’s often said in the context of not being able to help falling in love, or a sense of helplessness over whom with someone has “fallen in love.” But, we, as humans, have complex emotions and various reasons for our attachments. It may be physical or emotional, or both.
Many people feel like they can’t help who they fall in love with, but this type of thinking can lead to dangerous and painful relationships. If we always just go with how we feel in the moment, we can wind up getting involved with the very kinds of people who can’t, or won’t, love us back. Even worse, they can suck us dry to the point we are unable to even love ourselves and end up forgetting about our own self worth.
If a married person has an affair, it’s often “in the name of love.” But this isn’t God’s design of love for us. Affairs hurt a lot of people, and true love shouldn’t hurt anyone. Because our society considers love mainly as an emotion, we can get pulled in directions which harm ourselves, as well as others.
If we believe that love is only sex, attraction, feeling good, financial security, popularity, admiration, fun, acceptance; or anything else; we won’t experience true love. This is why it’s so important to follow God’s example of love. God wants us to love one another and ourselves!
Love is a CHOICE. Love is beautiful when put into godly action through Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that God is love. Love is about giving. It’s not about just taking what we can get. God’s most beautiful gift of love is sacrificial; giving us Jesus as a free gift, so we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3: 16 NIV).
So, how are we to love, here on earth, while we wait for Paradise? We can live by God’s definition of love. This will give us joy, freedom, and peace; as we wait on our forever home. We can try our very best to follow God’s commandments. They are meant for our good.
Take for example, premarital sex. Premarital sex hurts people. But God is our Creator; God understands passion. He allows for marriage for those wanting a more intimate relationship based on love. “If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, then he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married” (1 Cor. 7: 36).
We can look to the Bible to find out more about the relationship God designed for our security and joy. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Eph. 5:33). Love and respect go hand in hand. Jesus also loves children, so God gives us children to further bless our marriages. He also blesses our families through adoption. We, as Believers, are all adopted into God’s great family through Jesus Christ. What a beautiful gift!
When we practice God’s design and definition of love, we will truly experience joy, peace, and contentment. When we sacrifice in a healthy way through giving, forgiveness, and gratitude; our well of love will be filled. We won’t end up thirsty and parched, desperately looking for another relationship to quench our thirst. Jesus is the living water.
Sacrificial love is beautiful, but we need to remember it includes loving ourselves as well as others. Sometimes, we need to break away from relationships when people do not treat us with godly love. This is for our protection; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Boundaries keep us safe from unhealthy relationships, so we can continue to love ourselves, as well as others. We can still forgive hateful people while practicing boundaries. Jesus also practiced boundaries, and Jesus is love; for He is God in human form.
Some people feel stuck in bad relationships, but God doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves “in the name of love.” In fact, He commands us to stay away from hateful relationships. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (1 Tim. 3: 1-5).
If you want healthy, loving relationships, keep Jesus in your life, and follow his words. Then you will experience true, everlasting love. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen from me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4: 4-9).
And let’s not forget; when we mess up, God is willing to forgive us… because He loves us! May you find true love today!