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What is Love?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what love is, but the Bible is quite clear on this subject. Although there are three Greek words for love, one of them is quite predominant. The two less predominant ones might be described as sexual love, and friendship love, respectively, but the most predominant one could be called Godly love. This Godly love in the Bible is a mental attitude that causes us to want to pursue the welfare of others, with no bitterness or ill will for any sacrifices we might need to make in this endeavor.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In addition, true love, as it is described in Philippians 1:9-12, is enduring and durable, kind, faithful, and hopeful. It is never jealous, conceited, unmannerly, irritable, self-seeking, demanding its rights, it never takes pleasure in injustice, and it never fades.

In summary, if you love someone, you are willing to pursue the welfare of that person, meaning that you unselfishly want what's best for them, to the extent that you're willing to make significant sacrifices so that person can indeed have what's best for them. C.S. Lewis said that when you love someone, you want to take that person's suffering onto yourself. In fact, 1 John 3:16-17 says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

I believe that the key to this Godly mental attitude love is the characteristic of being unselfish. If a husband truly loves his wife, he doesn't find faults in her where she has failed to live up to his expectations. Instead, he unselfishly wants her to have the best things, even if he has to make sacrifices to acquire those things for her.

Owen Weber 2009