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Friday, February 16, 2018

Recent Reflections - February 2018: True Love

This is the second Recent Reflections post of 2018.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll be sharing my thoughts on true love.

Image courtesy of foto76 at 
When you think about true love, what comes to mind?  Newly weds?  Romance?  First kiss?  Romantic dinners?  Candlelight?  Walks on the beach at sunset?  I'm sure it is some Hollywood-version of true love, but is that really what true love is?

True, as it is used in this case, is an adjective that can be defined as "genuine, real, accurate, loyal, faithful, honest", to name a few.  Love, as it is used in this case, is a noun that can be defined as "an intense feeling of deep affection" or "devotion".  True love can then been defined as "genuine devotion or loyalty" or "honest devotion".  As you can see, true love is simply being completely loyal and devoted to another.  True love is, at its core,  selflessness.

What we think of as true love is not really true love as it is defined, but the emotion of one aspect of love.  What we tend to think of is actually romance, which is defined as "an emotional attraction".

True love lasts when the romance is gone, because true love does not rely on what it gets, but what it gives.

In truth, true love doesn't require romance at all.  You can truly love someone, like family or friends, without it being romantic love.

I am going to share with you I Corinthians 13 (KJV) - AKA "The Love Chapter" - to give you a better definition or understanding of what true love is (Note: the word "charity" means love, and I bolded some words and enlarged them for emphasis.):

1 Corinthians 13(KJV)

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
True love is patient, kind, not envious, doesn't boast, isn't prideful, doesn't behave inappropriately, isn't selfish, isn't easily upset, doesn't think evil, doesn't rejoice when things go wrong, rejoices in truth, helps bear burdens, believes the best about people, has hope until the end, is enduring no matter what, and it never fails.  

In short, love is a choice to believe the best about someone, treat them well, and be there for them even when they don't deserve it.

That isn't easy, but anyone who has family or been married for any length of time knows that the key to making relationships great is choosing to love no matter what.  Once you choose to abandon the devotion, it all falls apart.

For even more clarity on what true love is, here is the greatest example of it:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Wow.  When I think about Christ's version of true love, I can't help but wonder if I truly love anyone with true love.  Am I willing to give up all of myself for another?  Am I willing to die for another if needed?  Though I want to believe that I'd die for my kids and my spouse and other family or even friends-who-are-like-family without hesitation, I don't know that and wouldn't know that until I was in the situation.

Most remarkable to think about is that Christ died for me while I was a sinner, and basically His enemy.  Wow!  I am pretty sure I couldn't die for an enemy...especially if  the enemy was someone who had harmed a loved one.  God's love is the only true love out there.  He is definitely completely loyal and devoted to us!

With all that being said, thinking of God's love inspires me to love Him more and to show greater compassion to others.  It challenges me to love the unlovely.  It encourages me to find value in those who are cast aside by others.  It makes me remember that I was loved at my most unlovable, and it is not beneath me to share His type of love with others, too.  It also reminds me that love is a choice, not an emotion, and it is what I make it be.

Today, I choose to love.  I choose to love my family when they upset me.  I choose to love the friend in need even when I had other plans.  I choose to love the stranger on the street by offering them a friendly hello when I'd rather ignore them.  I choose to smile and radiate the love of Christ to others, because that is what true love is - giving of myself when I don't have to.

I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart!  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)

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