It is that time of year when love is in the air.
THE MEANING OF LOVE
"The lover drowned himself after a night in her bed chamber
because there was nothing else to live for."
"I know that I have made my share of mistakes. However, I hope that I will be able to say that I cared. There has been love in my heart." -- Jerry Sandusky
This is an excerpt from a letter written by Jerry Sandusky.
"In 2011, following a two-year grand jury investigation, Sandusky was arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period from 1994 to 2009. He met his molestation victims through The Second Mile; they were participating in the organization. Several of them testified against Sandusky in his sexual abuse trial. Four of the charges were subsequently dropped. On June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the 48 remaining charges. Sandusky was sentenced on October 9, 2012, to 30 to 60 years in prison." --wikipedia
It has been my experience that most folks do not know what love is.
What is love?
It is one of the most difficult questions for mankind to answer. Centuries have passed, but no one can give the proper definition of love. Poets and authors have tried to define love for centuries, whereas scientists have only recently started. Many of us know intuitively that love is a major purpose for living; that connection is inherent in all that we do, and without love, we cannot survive as a species. To some love is friendship set on fire for others. To some love is like luck. We consistently hear that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, boasts itself, and it is never proud. It rejoices over the evil and is the seeker of truth.
Depending on the context, love can be of different varieties. Romantic love is a deep, intense and unending. It is shared on a very intimate and interpersonal and sexual relationship. The term Platonic love, familial love and religious love are also matter of great affection. Then there is the love of things, money, power, and prestige. But at times, the very existence of love is questioned. Some say it is false and meaningless—what’s love got to do with it--it does not exist because of the many instances of hatred and brutality in relationships witnessed in the world today. There is hatred between brothers, parents and children, sibling rivalry, church folks, and spouses have failed each other. Friends have betrayed each other; the son who killed his parents for the wealth—and the beat goes on. The parents who say they love their children, but accepts the drug money, the stolen money, and the disrespect. But love is not responsible for that. It is us, the people, who have forgotten the meaning of love and have taken on such gruesome apathy and selfishness.
Psychologists say that love has three components: Intimacy, Commitment, and Passion. An ancient proverb defines love as a high form of tolerance--being together, sharing joy and sorrow, understanding each other, providing space to each other, but always being there for each others need. Love doesn’t require that two people look at each other, but that they look together in the same direction. One writer wrote, a flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.
Okay, but what is love, and how do we know when we're doing it? First, let's start off with what love isn't.
It Definitely Isn't...
Manipulation & Controlling. "If you loved me, then you would..." isn't love. In the church, people love their church when they can have their way. A woman says she loves her husband as long as he does what she says.
Compromising who you are. If someone asks you to do or say something that isn't in your nature, that isn't true love. Although love does involve compromises between partners, someone who is in love with you will never ask you to change who you are in order to be loved. Love let’s you be yourself, the person that God called you to be. You cannot make somebody love you—don’t try.
Violent. Passions can definitely become inflamed with someone you love, but a relationship with physical or emotional violence isn't true love. If you choose unwisely, love can be bad---the abusive spouse or parent,--the pistol-packing church member.
Just lust. Yes, chemistry and physical attraction are important, but true love between a man and a woman also includes commitment, trust, and respect.
So then, what exactly is love?
Real Love Is...action. Talk is cheap.
Love is Caring. But no matter how love is defined, they all hold a common trait: caring.
Real Love is Attached & Committed. Like the parent-child bond— and as in the case of Naomi and Ruth; someone who is with you for the long haul—there and committed no matter what—through the good times and the bad.
Real Love is Intimate--personal. Intimacy is a crucial component of all relationships, regardless of their nature. These are my children---this is my man, this is my church.
Love is not jealous or envious.
Love is never puffed up, but uplifts.
We can own every thing, know every thing, have special gifts, and have faith to remove mountains—without the ability to love we are nothing.
Maybe kids have the answer. This is what a survey of 4-8 year olds revealed.
When someone loves you, they say your name different.
Love is when someone gives you most of their French fries.
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over to paint her toenails anymore; so my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis, too---that’s love.
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