“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
Love. It gets talked about quite a lot these days. We talk about how we love our spouses and children. We also say how much we love oreos or vanilla ice cream. We use the same word for the people whom we pledged to spend the rest of our lives with as we use for food groups.
The Greek language has four words for love. I won’t get all technical on you, but basically those words in English are companionship (between people or even between a person and his or her dog), friendship, erotic/sexual/romantic love and unconditional love. The last kind is a kind that only originates from God and while we may say we love others with this kind of love, it’s really God loving those people through us.
Love is more than a feeling. It’s definitely more than the sappy lyrics to any of the multitude of syrupy love songs you’ll hear on the radio. Real love is an action, a choice, a verb. It means you always act toward the best interests of the beloved, whether you feel like it or not.
If love is a feeling, then it won’t last, because no feeling lasts forever. But if love is a choice, then you can always keep choosing to love and keep choosing to act lovingly even when you don’t feel love.