Today marks the eve of Valentines day. It is the day that most people that have no one in their life regret. Or at least that is what I think it is. In all honestly, I hope you never put your faith, or hope on me. I am not a perfect human. I have many flaws in my life, and many things that I am ashamed of. Currently, at this moment, I took to the comfort of the bottle. I could not bear the news that I have heard, and I needed a release. You see, I have only loved one person in my life. And it was not until recently that I realized that I did not know the true meaning of love.
Love is not what you see on television. It is not the fantasy that you see in movies. You do not just fall in love at first sight. You do not just have an intense staring contest, with a dance number accompanied with it, and call it love. Love is not what you see in Disney movies. Soulmates is a fantasy for those that hope that one day they will find the perfect person. I hate to break your heart, but that is not going to happen. There is not perfect person for you. There is no one person meant to be with you. Statistically speaking, if you had only one person that was meant to be with you, they would be living in either India or China. The odds are not good for you in finding your true love. But also imagine hundreds, and thousands of years before our birth. Think of the people that would marry. If one happen to marry the wrong person, they would have screwed up the whole lineage drastically. One messing up meant two wrong partners, which meant 4 whole people would not have the same soulmate. And after a generation, the children would not be those of the pure soulmate class. Generation after generation, the people would marry the wrong person and continue the vicious cycle of not pairing the right people with their soulmates. But also think about if the person in the past happened to die because of the actions of another? We have the gift of free will, which God gives to us so we can choose to love him. With this kind of choice, a person may decided they would like to drive even though, they had too much alcohol. The person may have been the one for someone, or the victims of the crash would have been the victims of a horrible death. Would that not automatically throw off the loop of one true love?
True love just does not work that way. Now again, you may ask yourself, why this has anything to do with it.
I want to reiterate that I am not a perfect person. I have lot of problems and imperfections. But I hope with this we can relate to each other and hope that we can grow from our mistakes. I also hope that I made sense back in the previous writings. But I cannot hide it. I am heart broken.
Here is my confession, a few hours ago, I started to drink alcohol hoping to stop the pain of heart break from making me go into a deep depression. The only person I have ever loved in my life is now with someone else. And just at the moment that I wanted to win her back, she was not in my grasp. So what is the nature of true love if the fantasy of true love we get from the movies is false? We must look into the bible for that.
Growing up, I thought that true love was a feeling that came naturally. We should embrace the feeling, no matter when we felt it. If I felt love after a few days, I would say it was real. Often times after breaking up, I would say that it was infatuations with relationships that were very short. After a few relationships, I would establish that I loved at least two women in my life. One from the 7th grade of school all the way until the 9th grade. The other was the summer of my graduation from high school. A three month relationship that would change my life forever. And I thought I felt love at the time. I was wrong.
My campus minister – Steve Comer (great man. A man that I am thankful to call a brother) – he told me that he did not know what true love until he was married. I was freaked out because under his definition, I had never felt love in my life. How could that be? Steve told me that true love was found once he was married because now he was locked down in a covenant. True love meant that he would find out about her flaws, and she would find out about his flaws, but they would make it work. No relationship goes without a fight or disagreement. True love says we will resolve because you are so much more important that my desire to be right. It was a self sacrificing love. And honestly, I did not understand it. I made no connection. I could not relate.
Months later, I searched the bible. Our God, the creator of everything, he is the true definition of love. How could I be such a fool? The only absolute universal truth in this world is the bible, but I did not look to it.
So what do we know about love? Well a common verse that is quoted at weddings comes from 1 Corinthians 13. The theme honestly talks about how without love, all of the powers and miracles mean nothing. But this does not change the definition of love.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Cool, this is love. But to me, it still did not give me enough justification for my conclusion of true love. I did not have much of a connection to it. So I decided to keep studying, over and over again. Then I found a passage that would change the way I would look at love.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
1 John 4:7-14
Now it started to connect. Love was not just an emotion. It was literally God. If we look into the Greek, both of the passages do not use just any old word for love. No it gives one very specific love called ἀγάπη. That means agape. Greek has a few names for love. One is love toward a parent or a child. Another can be love between friends, while another can be a lustful sexual love. But Agape is different. The bible defines it perfectly. Love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. But it is also 1 John 4:7-14. God is love, and if we do not know love, then we do not know God. It took me a while to realize that this agape love was the love I should show the brethren, but also show my wife.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [a]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,30 because we are members of His body.
We must love like Christ loved the church. The church is his bride and we are the church. It makes since because Jesus is God, therefore he is love. He came down to earth to face the same temptations that we face, to be persecuted, to face struggles of the flesh, be torn apart, tortured, and hung on the cross. God sent his only son as a perfect sacrifice to Adam’s helpless race. We did not deserve God’s grace, but he gave it freely. Even today, we continue to fail our God everyday, but he continues to forgive us.
Our God is a gracious God. He abounds in love, and forgives us our sins. He removes our transgressions as far as east is to the west (Psalm 103:12), and he remembers our sin no more (Hebrews 8:12). As we see in Corinthians, God is patient and kind. He does not take the wrong suffered into account. He forgives our sins toward him, chooses to not remember, and never takes them into account! Our God is merciful. The God of the universe forgave a man that denied Jesus 3 times when he was being taken to his eminent doom. God forgave a man that would persecute and kill many Christians. What is the worst that we have ever done? In the end, the blood of Jesus can cover all of our sin. If we repent, He readily forgives us. I do not know about you, but that is amazing. No matter how far I have gone away from God; no matter how much I have sinned; no matter how long I have been on the wrong path, He still forgives me and yearns for my soul. He pursues all of us because He loves us. That is the true definition of love.
Cool, I learned some stuff about the love of God. So what does this have to do with true love in relationships? Everything. True love is Agape. True love means we love the one that we are married to just like God loves us. Let me tell you again: you will not find a person that is perfect for you. There is no person on this earth that will be 100% compatible with you. They will have a quality that you do not like. You will fight. You will not like something they do, and they will not like something you do. Here is the kicker: Agape says we work on it. We sacrifice ourselves for the other person without seeking anything in return. We will work to change ourselves for the happiness of the one we are with. We will even go as far as die for them.
16We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:16
No matter how often they anger us, we must act just like God does to us. He forgives us constantly. If we repent, He is faithful and forgives. Thus, if they sin against us 7 times in a day, and then repent to us 7 times that day, we must forgive them (Luke 17:4). And if we both are seeking to be closer to God, we will both love each other like God to us. And then we can live happily ever after in Godly satisfaction. We will be Joyfully ever after. That is true love. A self sacrificing love. Not looking for repayment. Not looking for glory. Even if they do not deserve it, we still will sacrifice. We forgive them, and we love them. That is true love.
So under that definition of True Love, I have only loved once in my life. It took almost 22 years to figure out the nature of true love. And it gives me comfort. That true love is what I lost last year, and I do not want to give it up. Up in the beginning, I was writing under the influence of alcohol and pain. As I sobered up, I can tell you that my depression drives me to be self destructive. I miss my best friend, but she has someone else. And that is fine. I can love again. I wish to find that true love with someone special. Hopefully soon. Any takers?