The Real Meaning of Love

By Bindu Adai Mathew

Love. The world defines love as an emotion…a feeling. From fairy tales to Hollywood love stories, we are taught from childhood through adulthood that love is this intense, electric emotion that consumes us and sends us to the stratosphere, robbing of us all sense and thought .

The Bible, however, defines love differently:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

We have all probably heard these verses multiple times in our life…and more often than not, they are read at weddings. However, it probably wasn’t until I was married myself that I truly understood what those verses meant.  The first time he squeezed the toothpaste from the middle instead of the end? (Sigh) The first time he left the toilet seat up?  (Head shake) The first time he stayed up late after I meticulously cleaned the kitchen and went to sleep,  only for me to wake up in the morning to find random dishes, glasses, frozen food and chips wrappings, crumbs, etc. strewn across the kitchen counter and living room table? (Steam coming out of my ears) During those early years, I found it very difficult to be loving at times. Loving=patience=forgiveness…neither of which I was good at. But thank God, even when I wasn’t acting very loving, my husband continued to love on me.

Love, I’ve come to realize over the years, is not just a feeling…it is an action. Forgive. Sacrifice. Protect. Trust. All actions that God has done for us: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

As always, Jesus is our example. He loved us so much that he sacrificed his life so we can a chance at eternity in heaven. He loved us so much that even in the midst of intense suffering and pain at our hands, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34.

Wow. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Love.

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