How do you know if someone loves you? Or, if someone you truly cared about asked you, “Do you love me?” how would you convince them that you really did? You could buy flowers or an expensive gift for them. You could tell give them compliments or a hug. But what does true love really look like? An even more important question is, how do you genuinely love someone? I’ve been blessed enough to have a ton of people in my life that show me beautiful examples of what true love looks like.
I’ve seen true love in my parents, who have stood beside each other for 26 years through every trial life throws at them.
I’ve seen true love in my grandfather, who never left my grandmother’s side as she battled Alzheimer’s.
I’ve seen true love in my sisters, who have remained my constant best friends in my life through every tear and mistake.
I’ve seen true love in someone very special to me, who when I hurt him very deeply, immediately showed me nothing but understanding and forgiveness.
That’s what love is: putting someone above yourself, putting another person’s needs or wants or happiness above your own. Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s not butterflies in your stomach or feeling like you’re floating on air. Love makes you feel things, but love is not defined by those feelings. Also, real love doesn’t give up when times get hard. When feelings get hurt, when mistakes are made, when circumstances are less than what they should be, love doesn’t just end. When you really love someone, whether it’s your spouse or boyfriend or sibling or friend or whoever, you don’t give up on them when things get rough. That’s not what real love is.
Real love is patient and enduring.
Real love is understanding.
Real love doesn’t hold grudges or put itself above others.
Real love is not fragile.
“Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained” -C.S. Lewis
The greatest commandment the Bible gives us is to love others like Christ loves us. Most people don’t understand what real love is though. We get so caught up in making ourselves happy or when things don’t go the way we want, we give up. That is not at all how the Bible describes love. In the KJV Bible, the word love is translated as charity.
Charity: (n). love of humankind; kindness and tolerance; the voluntary giving of help; generosity and helpfulness; benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
Genuine, Biblical love is charity. It is devoting yourself to another person, sacrificing parts of yourself for the sake of someone else. The greatest thing a human being can do is love others unconditionally and without restraint. God calls us to love this way, and my most sincere prayer is that I can continue to learn how to do this better.