The True Meaning of Love
In this day and age, people have different ways of defining love. Oftentimes, love is mistaken for “infatuation” — that intense “sweep my feet away” feeling when one feels emotionally happy and passionate about another person for no reason at all. As elating and addictive as this feeling gets, it is also short-lived and does not equate to the unconditional love the Bible speaks of.
One of the best Bible verses describing “Love” can be found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 :
“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.”
This passage has been used universally, especially by priests and pastors during weddings. It gives a good guideline for how people may maintain their relationships and marriages, especially when times get hard and rocky. St. Paul, when he wrote this, knew the true virtue of love and wanted to spread the message at the Church of Corinth.
Love is patient and kind – When we truly love someone, we should not become easily annoyed or anxious when things do not go our way. We should become understanding of the other person and what the circumstances have brought upon him or her. Love is being kind through words and deeds. It rejoices in one’s ability to give without asking for anything in return.
Love does not envy or boast – When we truly love someone, we put our egos aside. When there are arguments or fights, we must put our egos aside, not so that the other person wins but because the relationship or marriage matters more to us. To be in a successful partnership, there must be gentle humility and submission to knowing that adding negativity will not solve anything.
Love is not arrogant or rude – When we truly love someone, we are caring and sweet. Not necessarily through flowers and chocolates, by through kind words and deeds. Love is about respecting and being one with the other person. When they hurt, we hurt. When they cry, we cry. It is only when we truly love someone, we do not insist our own ways and become ill-mannered.
Love does not insist on its own way – Love is not stubborn. It is about listening and understanding and making room for the good change. It is about allowing another person to occupy a good place in our hearts, not so that we may dictate how they should be, but so that we may become better persons with and through them.
Love is not irritable or resentful – Love forgives. It does not keep past wrongs bottled up to the point of no return. Love is learning how to ask for forgiveness when something wrong has been done, as it is also about forgiving someone else to find inner-peace.
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing – Love does not take joy in someone’s faults or acts of malice and bad faith. There is no love in letting someone lie, steal, offend, or commit grave faults. Love is there to help another person become better and closer to Christ in all ways and at all times.
Love rejoices with the truth – Love is about embracing the true concept of honesty and transparency at all times. Love is about having open communication with another person, and a sense of security in knowing the truth about everything.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – As the Bible says, “God is love.” Hence, it is supreme. Above all other virtues like faith and hope, love is the most important because it is ‘Agapao’ or ‘Agape’ (Greek) or God’s love for man — showing us the importance of loving others because we were made “in the image of God.” Love does not give up. Love is unconditional. Love is eternal.