For quite awhile now I’ve been trying to define this four-letter word. Th "L" word. Sometimes I have a hard time saying it…Lo…Lo…Love.
We use it all the time. I love candy, I love that song, I love this person. But what does love really mean? This is a question I’ve remotely asked myself time and time again over the years, but even more so the past week or so. I mean, can you really define the word? The dictionary defines love as:
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
I asked some people I know what is love and some of them said you can’t define it. Others said you’ll just know it when it happens. And others said it’s something that can only be experienced over a long period of time.
And with that definition, how long is long enough?
Remember that song by Foreigner, "I Wanna Know What Love Is?" I looked up the lyrics to that song hoping that it could provide some insight. The first part of the song says:
I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when Im older
Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
I through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder
In my life theres been heartache and pain
I dont know if I can face it again
Cant stop now, Ive traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
I don’t know about you but that didn’t help me very much.
You know it’s funny. So many people I’ve talked to (including myself) have expressed a fear of love or being in love and yet have no clue what it even is. It’s also funny how some people try to give definitions of a word that seems as nebulous as the stars themselves. As for me, I admit that I don’t really know what love is. So if I were to wait for the feeling that some people talk about, how do I know it’s met the time frame that other people talk about? It’s also funny how, again as Christians we’re so often quick to try and slap some kind of formula onto something and give some rules about how things should go. But this is how the Good Book describes love:
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. 8Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 14:4-8
It sounds powerful. So many people quote that scripture, some read it at their weddings. But sometimes when I read that scripture I’m still not really sure how that translates into real life. One thing I can see by reading the whole chapter, though, is that it’s a serious thing. The first part of that same scripture says:
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If
I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all
knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not
love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Sounds like love is deep. I mean come on, give your body to the flames but without love you’re still nothing??
I don’t know. I know this scripture is talking about love in a broader sense–love for God, love for people–i.e. your neighbor or your spouse–but does anybody out there have any insight about this mysterious four-letter word?