This is the third and probably final blog in a series about what love really is. The first one talked about Falling in Love. The second was about Acting in Love. If you haven’t read those yet you probably want to do that first.
When we understand things like these, it shows us two things:
1.) That’s the way relationships are suppose to be. This is why, despite all the evidence to the contrary, people still hope for true love and acceptance.
2.) We have no way of reaching that on our own. We’ve all been disappointed by people and we’ve most likely disappointed others as well.
Isn’t it strange that we keep aiming for this ideal picture of love when our experience is so different from it?
We were married on January 29, 2010, that was a Friday. For the next two days, my wife and I didn’t have any internet access. When we got online again, we were surprised by the encouraging response of people who’d been there, seen the pictures from Lito Sy, or watched the Same Day Edit by Jason Magbanua.
Some even quoted my vows. “I promise to be patient and kind, especially when I don’t feel like it. I promise not to snap at you or speak in harsh tones. And I promise to come clean and say sorry when I do… I promise to constantly pursue you and make you feel loved and wanted. Because you’re worth it.”
But those words were about to run into a cold, hard dose of reality.
As the last guest left at 12:30 AM, I turned to my bride and asked if she was ready to go on our honeymoon. She shyly admitted that she hadn’t packed and we would need to go back to her family’s rooms (a 40 minute detour).
Suddenly my good intentions evaporated. I didn’t say anything harsh, but my facial expression was so impatient. I resented that she hadn’t thought about this ahead of time. “She’s so insensitive! What about my needs and wants?” (Love is patient, love is kind… It is not self-seeking)
We spent around ten minutes of irritated silence on my part and patient, he’ll-grow-out-of-it longsuffering on hers. Eventually, I apologized when I realized how selfish I was being and fortunately she forgave me. And we proceeded to have a spectacular honeymoon.
But that just reminds me how despite our best intentions we all fail to love. Last night, my officemates had dinner at home and we got to talking about what’s the most hurtful thing you’ve ever said (and consequently, apologized for). For all of us, it was either a spouse, a family member, or a close friend – the people we expect to love the most.
Something is broken with our ability to love. We want to love others and we want to be loved by others. But we just can’t do it.
Some people think this means true, selfless love is a myth. It doesn’t exist in humanity and we shouldn’t aspire for it.
I agree that it doesn’t exist in humanity but it can be found somewhere.
I John 3:16 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
No one is completely patient on their own. No one is completely kind, loving, selfless, etc. on their own. But when we look at what Jesus did for us, we learn how and we’re actually capable of loving in ways we never thought we could.
What did Jesus do for us?
- He laid down his life – his preferences, his comfort, his privileges, his own will…
- for us - People who didn’t deserve it, people who were his enemies, people who wanted nothing to do with him. But people who needed him because they would go to Hell without his sacrifice.
Jesus saw all of our faults, Jesus knew we were of no real benefit to him, but because He loves us, He decided we were worth dying for.
That’s the essence of love.
Love isn’t a hole – you don’t fall in it.
Love is not constipation – something you just want to get out or else you’ll burst.
Love is not like some gym memberships – something you only do when you feel like it.
Love is a combination of emotion, decision, and action that chooses to lay one’s life down for the good of the other.
My wife’s blog on the topic. Can I just say, I love her? She’s amazing!
A podcast of when I preached on this topic last Friday at Victory Ortigas.