Be careful when you say the L* word. You know the one. I loooooove this, I love that. I love him, I love her. I love cats. I love french fries. Oh come on, you know you like to say it. It feels good to say it. It comes off the tongue so easily. What could feel better than saying you love something or someone?
Why do you say it? That's what I am asking. What does it cost to say I love you? It costs nothing. But does it cost the other person something? Do you say it to create an outcome? Do you want them to say they love you? Do you want them to do something for you? To make you feel good? To fulfill your desires? To know if someone loves you back? To demand something?
Love is not conditional upon what the other person does. If that person walks out the door, you will still love them if the love is pure. It is not pending upon what the other party does. Love is a gift. It is given by God and there isn't a thing you can do about it. Once you love someone the correct way, it is there to stay. It may change forms, but it is there always.
It hurts when that person you love walks out the door. That is why people are afraid to love. They are afraid of being hurt, of being rejected, of not being loved back. But there is a beautiful secret. When God loves you, and you know it, you feelings of worth aren't based upon how and if anyone else loves you. You can love and love and love and never stop loving and never run out of love. It is a beautiful thing.
So when you go to say I love you, think about your motivation. Are you saying it to get something or to give?
Now I hear you asking the question. What is the question? Well, what is pure love? Oh, so easy. I have the answer for you. Well, I can't take credit. This is from God's Word, the Bible. It's a clear, practical description of love. It's from 1st Corinthians, chapter 13:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Wow, that's a tall order. Do I love people like that? Not usually. Can I love people like that? I can try. The other day I was feeling sorry for myself because I was thinking that someone I "loved" wasn't making me feel loved, and it hurt. Then I had a thought. Did I really love them? What did I love? Did I love how they made me feel? What they did for me? That's not love, that's selfish and self-seeking. That type of "love" burns out easily.
The problem is when we turn to other people to get love. If you turn to another person for love, it cannot sustain the expectation of your need. You will always arrive empty. Instead, we must go to the source. Love always perseveres. So love freely, love lavishly, love extravagantly, but love wisely. It's not about protecting yourself from being hurt, it's knowing what love is and what is not.