Love Is The Defining Factor: An Invitation To A Relationship
Valentine’s Day, Relationships, and Defining Love
Valentine's Day claims to perpetuate love. Greetings range from sincere to comical, but relationships are not-so-funny things. Far too often, concepts about what love is escape our thinking.
A person may not be able to verbalize a definition, but knowing when it is missing gives, at the very least, a sense that something is not right. Sometimes, vague signs that love is not a part of a relationship turn to definite signals.
What do Our Culture's Relationships Look Like?
• As if he knows all about it, a pudgy toddler declares, “I don’t love you anymore.”
• “You don’t love me!” an angst filled 13-year-old girl with blazing eyes cries to a parent in a moment of anger.
• "I give up. There's no way out. I just need to accept my circumstances," sighs a resigned woman who, like too many who are worn down over time, has given up all hope.
• An elementary student decides it is too risky to ask for help and tells himself that he will hide until the danger is over, wondering what it would be like to be loved and cared for like his friends.
• “If you love me you will do this,” threatens a deceitful and manipulating boyfriend determined to have his way.
• “Why don’t you love me,” a distraught, broken-hearted wife pleads in utter confusion.
• The regretful husband asks his mirror, "Will my wife be able to love me again?"
• Quietly, an old person lives out a needy, lonely life, shunned by the children who grew up in his or her home, not understanding the pain that comes with fragility and neglect.
• A grown-up child looks on, grieving too early, as a stubborn parent refuses to take good advice, insisting on what will only destroy them in the end.
It is terribly sad that the concept of love has
been reduced to self-satisfaction because
real love is so satisfyingly wonderful.
Defining love may be easiest if we take an honest look at what love is not. Valentine’s Day is all about the word love, but the focus isn’t usually on love's definition. The advertising, of course, focuses on emotions which are changeable and misleading, so for the most part, what people think they will get out of the day does not become reality.
Young and old alike are fooled into thinking that a particular path will take them to what they desire, yet they are unable to make connections on how certain means lead to certain ends. Dreams are unfulfilled and celebrants of the big day do not know why. Because they do not know what real love is they are unable to recognize the counterfeits.
Defining Love: A Relationship's Foundation
In looking at the degradation of families the world over, perhaps especially in our country, the conclusion is that knowledge of love is being drained from the life-blood of our self-serving age. Gratifying self is taught to ever younger age groups. Even an acquaintance with the love that is made of pure motives is hard to find. It is terribly sad that the concept of love has been reduced to self-satisfaction because real love is so satisfyingly wonderful.
An understanding that love is rooted in self-sacrifice is an obvious need, yet our society is filled with people teaching little ones to satisfy themselves. If parents and educators were teaching character by definition and example our country’s children would know that self-sacrifice starts with responding rightly to others no matter how we feel.
Some counselors explain love as something we do rather than something we feel, however, the idea that we take action without feeling affection (or at least compassion) is rather cold. Because it is undefined the concept of self-sacrifice being the making of relationships is fading from societal thinking.
Humans tend to be self-serving so it is imperative to know what love is and to know whether a person with whom we might be considering a relationship knows what it is. Knowing that a person can have a commitment to a relationship but not know what love truly is should be a major factor in our evaluation of whether to move forward with them.
Defining love then examining our own motives as well as those of the other party from an objective perspective is fundamental to effectively determining whether to go forward in any relationship. Because of the compelling fact that truth does not change, this thing called true love--this love that so few ever own--is a worthy and interesting study.
Love's Definition is Rooted in Truth
The cost of the love that will meet our ultimate need is full of mystery, yet having that relationship is so satisfying that it allows us to successfully navigate the various human relationships in this world, even though they can be difficult.
The love that God displayed through the Lord Jesus calls us to a relationship with Him that is beyond our power to gain, yet which is freely ours if we go to Him in repentance according to His Word with a humble and contrite heart that agrees with Him.
From the King of Love CD:
The Greatest Love, The Most Important Relationship:
May this Valentine’s Day find you in the most important relationship for this life and eternity!
• Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 (KJV)
• We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
• But God commendeth His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (ASV)
• For God so love the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)
• Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. John 15:9 (NASB)
How should we respond to this love that defines the One reaching out to us? What will you do with an offer for the greatest, most important relationship in all of time and eternity?
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