As common as this word is, many have not an idea what it truly means. And as much as we tell each other “I love you”, we often times get confused as to what we are really talking about. And the reason is simple, love is spiritual, it’s pure and from God: it’s a being that drives us to be like Itself. Love is not a feeling. We tend to mix affection and attraction with love. It’s why many ladies can talk about having a thousand crushes in just one week. That’s not love, it’s attraction based on our own fleshly desires, fantasies and longings. But then it’s ephemeral.
True love begins with friendship. Many people try to complicate this—as I write this post I am reminded of the song, “what a friend we have in Jesus.” A friend: one who doesn’t only bear our griefs or support us, but one who also teaches us to love one another, to be right, to be the best version of ourselves. True God-given friends show us what love is. As the bible tells us, we cannot see God—who is love (1 John 4:8), but by our actions we can show the world His character.
What love is
Love is a burden placed upon us to be like God. It’s what compels us to forgive even when we feel extremely hurt. It’s the power that leads us to invest all we have in another human being just to see them smile. It’s a burden!
Many people, in their states of loneliness tend to be vulnerable to confused manipulative gestures that many describe as love from others. Gestures that others make simply because they want something in return—sex, company or whatever it is, that will fill a void in their own lonely lives. But love isn’t manipulative, it’s not selfish; It’s a burden to treat another person just as God will treat them. The longing for sex should never be confused with love. Many can desire to have sex with a given person for no other reason but attraction. This feeling can be so strong that though they know not the person—take a celebrity, they desire so much to get intimate with them to the point of sickness. Remember the story of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel 13? Amnon as the Word of God says became so obsessed with Tamar that he feel ill wanting to lay with her. After raping her, however, he was disgusted by her. Was he in love? No! This was not love and love as many sadly come to realize is not about sex.
Attraction or an obsession for sex with someone, as we see in the anecdote above, is ephemeral and fades away after our goals of pleasure are met. Again, love is not a feeling of attraction, it’s a burden to treat another person as God will treat them. The desire to have godly sex, to have a family, to be a soul mate are decisions that flow out of a deep Godly friendship and not a blind obsession.
Pulling walls down
The decision about whether or not to give or receive love should never be based on our (past) hurts and experiences. Many times it’s hard to love when a person hasn’t truly experienced what love is. This is why the devil continues to attack and divide families; the reason being that families are the nesting place of love. We give to the world what we first experience, and if our homes give us a distorted understanding of what love is, we in turn find it hard to give or receive love to and from others. What makes it harder to love is when we end up in fleeting—and usually—sexual relationships with people who lack a true understanding of what love is. Broken relationships are then formed as a result, till we after many failed relationships, become immune to the burden of love.
In the conclusion, the question as to whether or not you are in love shouldn’t be determined using fleshly metrics of sexual attraction. We live in a broken world with many broken people, in search of people with a true burden to show them the love of God. The question is will you answer to this burden?
On the subject of marriage I write: marriage is an investment of love and purpose, it’s not an institution for baby making or joyful sex. It begins with a deep friendship with a person who can truly show you God’s love—selfless love. You see, any stranger can give you mind-blowing sex or money and not care if you were dead tomorrow, but as the word of God says, “…and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). This friend ladies and gentleman, a friend who doesn’t only bear your griefs or support you, but one who also teaches you to love, to be right, to be the best version of yourself; and finally ones whose purpose aligns with yours, isn’t just a friend but a soulmate.
Lastly, the phrase “I love you” has been twisted so much to mean I am attracted to you. And people usually say it after getting intimate or when they feel that sudden rush of fiery emotions at the sight of another. But ‘I love you’ simply means: I have a burden to treat you how God wants you to be treated. It’s so hard to say it when coming from a background where saying ‘I love you’ to another raises eyebrows for reasons of misinterpretation.
Thanks for reading