What is real love? God describes it for us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Compare your commitment to the real thing and see how you measure up.
• Love isn’t blind, but it is unconditional…someone may have the worst habit in the world, but you love them regardless…you know you’re in love when another’s desires become your desires too…you want the best for another. Love is a commitment to the other person, whether the emotions are there or not. It is a type of devotion that will continue when the emotions aren’t there.
• Love is a conscious choice to commit (unto death) to honor and cherish the other person and to do what is best for their good (even if what is best is not you in his or her life). This love is not based on what the other person can do for you, but your choice of loving the other person unconditionally. Emotions can enter in, but love is primarily volitional. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant; love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; love bears all things, understanding in all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
• Love is patient. When you really love someone, you accept them just as they are. Of course, you encourage them to grow, but you love and accept them unconditionally — no strings attached. Real love allows you to be patient with weaknesses and flaws.
• Love is kind. Love is positive and lifts people up, never pulls them down. Love sees the needs of others, and does what it can to meet those needs. It’s never harshly critical.
• Love is never jealous. Remember, love gives, it doesn’t take. It wants to share time and attention with others. It allows the one you love the freedom to have other friends and interests apart from you. It’s not possessive.
• Love is never boastful. It centers on the other person and not on yourself. If it brags about anything it brags about the one you love.
• Love is not proud. Love keeps you from being full of yourself and keeps you humble. You are proud of your partner and not of yourself for snagging him or her. You realize that person is a gift from God, and not somebody you have earned.
• Love is not rude. Love respects others and show them courtesy. It demands respect from other people toward the one you love.
• Love doesn’t demand it’s own way. Love thinks about others first. Real love accepts changes in circumstances and people. It produces a concern for the needs of others.
• Love is not irritable or touchy. Love is not too sensitive; it doesn’t take everything so personally. Real love doesn’t wear it’s feelings on a sleeve.
• Love does not hold grudges. love is able to forgive; it doesn’t dwell on the past failures. In the Old Testaments, a teen named Joseph was sold into slavery by his older brothers. He was taken to a foreign country never to see his home again. Many years later, Joseph became the ruler of that country. One day his brothers came to this country begging for help; they didin’t know Joseph was in charge. He had to choice to make: forgive and help them, or hold a grudge and hurt them. What would you have done? Joseph said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” (Gen. 50:20). Essentially he said, “I forgive you.”
• Love is not glad about injustice. Real love doesn’t find pleasure in the pain or wickedness of other people. It doesn’t enjoy finding fault in others.
• Love is glad when truth wins out. Real love is based on truth and honesty. The Bible says perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear is what keeps us from being honest—fear of what our friend will think of us, or fear of what if she knew the truth. Love tells the truth, even though it’s not always pretty.
• Love is loyal no matter what the cost. It will always be faithful and stand by the person loved, no matter what.
• Love always believes. Love is willing to trust. When you really love someone, you’ll believe in her, even when she cannot believe in herself. Again, because there is no fear in love, you trust that person. You’re able to give yourself completely to the relationship.
• Love always expects the best. It will always give a person the benefit of the doubt. Real love is positive, not negative. It looks for the best and finds it.
• Love always stands it grounds in defending the other person. Love is protective (without being jealous), and will continue to love even when it’s not returned.
Now this is the real thing. How do your feelings of love compare with what God says love is? If you love someone, you should see the evidence. Real love can grow and mature if it’s really there. Infatuation cannot produce the actions and attitudes of love. No matter how intense the feelings, it’s not really love.
Remember, the Bible says, God is love (1 John 4:8).
To really know love and be able to love, you must know Him.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.