What is love? that is a question I asked myself a bit growing up. I had grown up in the church, grown up on movies, and always said goodbye on the phone to my family with: “I love you!” Still, eventually, I started to ask myself, what is love as a concept? I prayed about this for a while, and was ever unsatisfied with the answer I received from the dictionary, until one day it hit me and it all made sense. Love wasn’t a sappy word you say about things you like, it’s not something said to convince other people you enjoy their company, it was a verb, an action. Love is the demonstration of one’s feelings, an act of showing how valued something is in their life.
That may sound obvious, but it wasn’t the final conclusion of my epiphany. If love was the action of showing how valued something was, how is it measured? Ultimately, it’s measured by the value of what you’re willing to give up for the thing that is loved. Life is full of resources, resources like time, energy, and money, all of which are important to us to have and utilize. Love asks: “how much of those resources are you willing to give to me so I can be better off?” Once I realized that, everything else about love started to make sense.
Verses like 1 John 4:7-8 suddenly took new meaning: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” If love is the act of showing others how much you care about them by giving things up for their benefit, God is the very essence of that. He desires to make us better, and He only wants the best for us. Like how a parent will spend countless hours slaving away to improve their children’s future.
The act of love wasn’t the only thing this realization shone new light on. If love is the act of giving up things you like for the benefit of others, than pride is that act directed inwards towards yourself. Pride is saying, “I’m more important than you, so if I give these resources up, it’s to make me happy and it doesn’t matter how it affects you.” Every person that rebels against God, every broken relationship, and all despicable acts of evil, come from this concept of desiring to love oneself, rather than others.
Many more revelations on love came to me after God gave me the insight to understand the concept; but none of them were more important than this: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16