What Does Real Love Look Like?

In the English language, there are many uses for the word love.  Love can be defined as a strong like or an affection.  Many people would say love is a good feeling.  Some would even equate lust with love.  Others would say love is a result of evolutionary biological urges and an inbred drive.  I think there is a better definition of love.  I believe love is altruistic.  Here is a definition I like. “Love is a commitment you make to act in someone else’s best interest. True love can only be known by the actions that it prompts.” (“God Space”, by Doug Pollock, p. 92). Love puts the needs of the other person first.

The Bible talks a lot about love.  Here is a great description of love. 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Note how relational the love description is.  You can replace the word ‘love’ with ‘God’.  God fits the love description perfectly.

Love is patient.  Patience (long-suffering, forbearance) is a fruit of the Spirit.  Can you be patient and gracious with people? 

Love is kind.  Kindness (goodness) is also a fruit of the Spirit.  Can you be nice and kind to people?

Love does not envy. Being not envious or jealous helps strengthen relationships.  Can you support the achievements of others? 

Love does not boast. Being not boastful allows you to be focused on the other person.  Can you put the other person above your own needs?

Love is not arrogant. Again, being not arrogant or proud means you can focus on the other person.  Can you listen to the other person and try to understand them?

Love is not rude.  You should not act unbecomingly or dishonorably.  Can you treat the person with honor?

Love does not insist on its own way. You should not be self-seeking or focused on yourself.  Can you be concerned about the other person?

Love is not irritable. You should not be easily angered or provoked.  Can you treat abrasive people graciously?

Love is not resentful. You should not keep a record of wrongs suffered. Can you forgive the other person?

Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing. You should not rejoice in unrighteousness.  Sin is destructive, and it hurts people. Can you be concerned about the destructive effects of wrongdoing?

Love rejoices with the truth. Truth is found in Jesus.  We can rejoice in all that God has done and is doing in the lives of people.  Lies hurt people. Can you be honest to others?

Love bears all things.  You will experience tough times.  Can you continue to love in these tough times?

Love believes all things. Love acts in the best interest of others.  Love is realistic and yet positive.  Can you put the interest of others ahead of your own?

Love hopes all things. Love sees the God given potential in others.  Can you see potential in others and not dismiss them?

Love endures all things. You can stand with others as they go through tough times.  Can you stand with those hurting?

Love never ends. Love is unconditional.  There is nothing to stop love.  Can you continue to love others when they are acting unlovable?

Can you be a loving person?  With God’s help you can.

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