How it all began
Those butterflies you get in your stomach. The way your eyes and being light up when they walk by or talk to you. The dreams you have of being with them for all time. You spend every waking moment together and you could never believe that one person could change your entire life in this way. Every dream you have is coloured by their existence, and you wonder how you ever lived without this person.
How it’s going
Some time has passed, months or years, and you have gotten to know this person a lot more. You now see all their imperfections, shortcomings and struggles. You see the brokenness that has carved them into the actual person they are today and how this impacts all the decisions they make. It’s all real now and you no longer feel butterflies or are on cloud nine. The realities of life with them have now set in and it’s nothing like television promised.
The relationship may end, and the last line may often be, ‘But love was just not enough.’ Or ‘I just fell out of love with them.’ You have probably heard these lines so many times and even agreed, adding that respect, honesty, principles are also needed…and they are. But what if the real issue is our understanding of what love is? What if we keep looking at love as this one-dimensional feeling as opposed to an all-encompassing reality?
Almost all definitions of love, noun or verb, by major dictionaries describe it as ‘a feeling’. The Oxford Dictionary defines love as a (noun) ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’, ‘a strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone.’ Or (verb) ‘feel deep affection or sexual love for (someone).’ Note the heavy emphasis on ‘feeling’. This is largely the way the world defines love, and once they stop ‘feeling’ love, they decide that it is or was never enough.
In God’s definitions of love, there are none in the Bible that speak to a ‘feeling’. Not one! And there are so many. I chose a few top ones to illustrate his definition and we can compare this to the earthly ones.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 13). Love is great.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah Chapter 31 verse 3).
Love is faithful.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (St. John chapter 3, verse 16). Love is sacrificial.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (Peter chapter 4, verse 8).
Love is enduring.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians chapter 3 verse 14).
Love is harmony.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (St. John chapter 13 verse 34 – 35).
Love (the verb) makes us like God.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (St. John chapter 15 verse 13).
Love is Kind.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans chapter 5 verse 8).
Love is unconditional.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 2 -3).
Love is humble, gentle, patient and unifying.
We put that all together and are reminded that Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians Chapter 13, verse 4 -8a).
How it should end…
Love is anything but a feeling. The greatest problem we face as human beings is in truly understanding love and as such being able to truly give it. We love with many conditions and when they aren’t met, we throw in the towel. We reel the words I love you off our tongues all the time, but have we truly ever loved someone who doesn’t love us? How sacrificial are we then?
But God is. Though we continue to make a mess of things and sin, he in his grace wants us to return to his all-encompassing love and be whole so we too may learn to love in this manner. After all, he wants us to love like he does and bring heaven here on earth. God’s sending Jesus to die for us while we were covered in sin is a true testament to how great his love is.
We were not required to get it together before he made that sacrifice. He does however have times when we need discipline and even then he wants us to know that he does this because he loves us.
The next time you are tempted to think love isn’t enough or you hear someone say that, remember God’s definition and entirety of love. It is and will always remain the only true definition of LOVE and that is why love is enough
Kimberley Salmon from Jamaica West Indies is a praise and worship leader who remains passionate about touching hearts through singing and writing as she thrives to become a published author of Christian women’s fiction. She loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is grateful for God’s saving grace which continues to transform her life. As a senior Press Service International Columnist, she is elated that she can now share her journey with God with the world.