What is Love?
By Eli Lee
May 1, 2019
Love. What is love? When most of us think of love, we think of treating someone else kindly and not hurting them. This indeed is love, but is that all? Many confuse love with lust, as well, and think it means having sexual relations with someone. Let's look a little deeper into what all love includes. I will divide it in two, because there are two very different kinds of love.
Selfish love: This is the kind of love that all humans initially operate from. There is always an expectation, whether conscious or subconscious, to get something in return when we show love toward someone. When the one to whom we extend love hurts us or doesn't appreciate us and doesn't love us back, the love grows cold.
God's love: This is the kind of love God demonstrated to us when He gave His own Son to be sacrificed, to make a way for us to come unto Him. This is the same kind of love He injects into our hearts when we become born again by His Spirit. It does not expect anything in return for the love given because there is no selfish motive in it. It is unconditional love. It is a piece of God Himself.
Even after receiving God's love in our hearts, we make a choice in every encounter we have with God or people as to which love we will operate in. We decide whether we do what we do to gain something for ourselves or because we desire to be obedient to and in unity with the One who gives us unconditional love.
When we operate in the first kind of love, we will do whatever we can to avoid conflict regardless of right and wrong (even though our selfishness often causes conflict with others). We don't want to offend someone or to disrupt the unity. By all means, we don't want to be looked at as a troublemaker or endure the discomfort of having disturbed our peace and tranquility, because our comfort, our reputation, and our peace are what dictate our actions. Our focus is still on earthly things. This kind of person is called a peacekeepers.
When we operate in the second kind of love, our entire focus is on pleasing our Lord and being obedient to Him. When we see someone who is not operating in line with the Word of our Lord, we will go talk to them about it in unconditional love, because we value our relationship with our Lord more than our own comfort and reputation. Our concern for the person will be genuine, so the possibility of offending them with the truth now doesn't even compare with the thought of them being in agony forever. We know what the consequences of their actions will be if they don't turn back, and unconditional love would much rather take the chance of being rejected, hurt, and humiliated by that person than for them to spend eternity in hell.
We know where we stand with our Lord; therefore, we won't be shaken just because of what people say about us. We know, too, that they're not really rejecting us, but they are rejecting God (since we're just doing what He commanded us to). We understand that they have been blinded by Satan and therefore don't understand the truth. Because we have the same unconditional love for the person as God does, we will do whatever we can to save them from eternal punishment, regardless of what they do to us. It was this kind of love that enabled Jesus to beg God at the very end to forgive the ones who had tortured and killed Him. This kind of person is called a peacemaker (helping people make peace with God).
Ask yourself if you are a peacekeeper or a peacemaker? Are you operating in selfish love or unconditional love?
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:9–13)
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