Of course many people simply lie, and love has nothing to do with their relationship or their marriage; but it’s also possible that many people just don’t understand “love” to begin with.
If we go to the very top of the list of lovers or what love means, we might find that God is the greatest lover of all, since he loves us no matter how unlovable we may be. HE never takes his love away from US, it is always the individual person who decides to kick God out of his life. In fact, if God’s love means that we get to live forever in Paradise and/or in some marvelous state of affairs that is actually worth pursuing because of his love for us — for those who have gotten to the point of believing that — then to not achieve that outcome cannot be blamed on the Very One who wants that for us most of all. In other words, it’s about time the unloved, so to speak, or the loveless, as they might see themselves, take responsibility for not having any “love” in their life, especially the love of God, which is available to all, if we can believe God’s own words on that subject, as presented to us in one book or another.
Okay, you might say, but what about earthly love, person to person.
Well, there really is no “one size fits all” in that category. To some, love means not wishing anyone any harm, and that certainly is person-to-person. To some others, love means lots and lots of feeling and emotion and expression of that emotion. And to yet others, love means living every day in a loving way, which way is defined for all to see in the Bible, in the writings of Khalid Gibran, and in practically any good greeting card intended to convey the love of the sender for the receiver. And of course, “love” can be defined in any dictionary, as unromantic as that may sound.
Take the NIV (New International Version of the Bible) for example. It offers up, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, this description of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor 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.” Regardless of whether or not the Bible interests a person, who wouldn’t want to be the recipient of that kind of love?
That biblical definition sounds like a good measure against which to see if we know how to practice love, even if we don’t necessarily know its definition as found in a dictionary. Which brings us to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, and one or two succinct definitions of love, in part: “A deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons… A feeling of brotherhood and good will toward other people…” Needless to say, the dictionary definition does go on to include all the sexual feelings and actions that seem to go along with that word, “love,” as well as examples of all the way people employ that word in their speech patterns to indicate great like or passion for something. But maybe
that’s where people go wrong. They go for the sexual feelings and forget the part about being patient and kind. They’ll feel attached or some version of devoted to a person, but only for reasons that yield them some personal and very significant benefit — and once the benefit is gone, so is the “love.”
Not that I am against the “benefits” of love — au contraire — but I am against fake and selfish love that seeks only the outward physical “benefits” or simply chooses to “love” a person in their own ignorant or arrogant way, disregarding all the outward signs of their true affection as mentioned in 1 Corinthians above. I believe in the kind of love that takes all mankind into its circle first (that “…feeling of brotherhood and good will toward other people…”) and then applies
the meaning of personal love as found in 1 Corinthians and in the words of Kahlil Gibran’s poetic renderings: “It is a heavenly love that is free from jealousy, rich and never harmful to the spirit. It is a deep affinity that bathes the soul in contentment; a deep hunger for affection which, when satisfied, fills the soul with bounty; a tenderness that creates hope without agitating the soul, changing earth to paradise and life to a sweet and beautiful dream.”
When I muse about love, I sometimes wonder how those who kill in the name of their god can also believe in being rewarded by that same god.
Is it a reward that’s cold and calculated, as in “Do this, receive that,” with no notion of love attached, or do they believe it is a reward of love? So a god that wants one to kill and requires one to kill (so they say) will be rewarded by that same blood-thirsty god?
Don’t they ever wonder what might happen if their blood-thirsty, not known for loving, god decided to kill them?
I guess to some, love is NOT patient and kind, it IS easily angered, and it DOES keep a record of wrongs. Or maybe to some, “love” really is not a consideration at all; but if it is, it apparently DOES delight in evil while it will happily obscure the truth. And to round it out, to some, apparently “love” doesn’t have to protect, or trust, and as long as the one in control in the “love” arrangement stays in control, one doesn’t even need hope, as one has what one wants as long as he or she perseveres in the selfishness of his or her own version of that “love.”
So, to paraphrase what I often say, I would rather feel love than know its definition. And I would certainly rather have a lover who believes in the kind of love found in 1 Corinthians than the kind who buys me flowers and chocolates on that one day of “love” every year.
As with all things, “love” has a source. If the lover does not reflect the source, it seems like we may have a real case of fake love.
May you all look for the genuine article and feel the real thing, and have a truly happy day that celebrates real love!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.