What is Love?


Recently, I’ve come to reflect about my personal definition of love when a friend asked  my perspective on it. It was such an abstract concept that people tend to give various definitions to it based on their experiences.

After contemplating on love, I’ve realized this is my personal definition:

Love is experiencing extraordinary moments that accumulated over time, then somehow choosing to love the person no matter what. Love is a choice and committing to that choice over and over again. True love without sacrifice is meaningless.

As humans, it is our nature to think first about ourselves, but if you have chosen to love the other person, sacrificing your own self for what’s best for the other, you have experienced true love.

Even if you think the person does not deserve your love but still choose to love that person over and over again, that’s true love.

Love is not a responsibility but a choice. If it’s a responsibility, then even if you don’t want it, you’ll do it anyway. Like you’re obligated. But if it’s a choice, you are deciding to love the person and accepting the consequences connected with that decision. You are owning your love for that person.

 

Is it applicable to any type of relationship? My above definition is definitely applicable to romantic and familial relationship. But what about spiritual? About love for friends? About love for oneself? About love for one’s country?

 

I think it will all boil down to one’s freedom of will. Humans are given the freedom to choose, the freedom to say yes, to say no, the freedom to believe or not to believe, the freedom to trust, or not to trust. I think it all boils down to that power to choose given to us. But how do we use this power in ways not destructing but encouraging to people? How can we use this freedom to lift others up instead of pushing them down?

 

I think it is all about love. And as with any type of relationship, whether for your family, whether for your friends, whether for your significant other, whether for a higher being that you believe or not, it will always be a choice to love and receive love. A choice we are given to show the true meaning of life on this earth.

 

What about the spiritual definition of love?

I always remember what Paul said to the Corinthian church about love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 (Contemporary English Version):

 

Love: The Universal Spiritual Gift

 If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.

Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known.

Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.

 

With the above spiritual definition of love, it will always be hard to comprehend and apply such if we are face to face with pain, hurt, anger, sickness, doubt and problems. But I guess love is a universal spiritual gift given to us by the One true creator of love.  If we receive that unconditional love from the creator, I think it will be easier to give love to others. But above all, I think it will always be a choice for us whether to give the love that we receive, or not at all.

 

At the end of the day, I have pictured the love that Jesus has showed me all my life:

Even though I am not patient and want my own way, He is still patient with me and teaches me to put others first.

Even though I am lost with my identity, He has given me a new life. The old has gone, the new has come.

Even though I am a complainer, He is still patient with me, hearing my concerns, loving me and doesn’t keep a record of my wrongs. He has erased my transgressions from east to west.

Even though I didn’t feel loved growing up, He still died on the cross to show how much He loves me. He could have wiped the people from earth, He could have judged me and condemned me but instead, He showed love in its highest form. He showed love through sacrifice. He showed power in love when He chose to love you and me despite our past, our sins, our problems, our ego, our accomplishments, our rejection of Him. He still chose to love.

That for me, is the true definition of love.

Then, I realized,

Love is always a choice. It will always be a choice.

A choice to give love. A choice to receive love.

And in life, we always live with the consequence of that choice.

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