What is the meaning of real love? | Faith

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This week many of us will celebrate Valentine’s Day, also known to some as Love Day. Some of us will be treated extra special on that day; some won’t even as much as get an “I love you.”

It will be a very special day for me because I will celebrate my 64th birthday, and I am so grateful to God!

When we use the word “love,” especially the kind we experience in relationships, do we really know what it means? Is it real?

First of all, love is an action word. You can say it all day, but if you don’t know the real meaning, you are “blowing hot air,” and your mate will see it sooner than later. Let’s see what the Word says about love. In I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) love is defined in this manner: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.”

These verses of scripture speak loudly and clearly to the meaning of real love. All of us can learn some valuable lessons about love from this word.

In a relationship, we should do certain things for our mates because we love them, not because of obligation. We have our roles as the man and as the woman of the home, but whatever those roles we choose to do should be out of real love. Real love is unconditional. In a relationship, it is not always going to be 50/50, but no matter the percentages in the relationship, it should be real.

One of the quickest ways to cause a relationship to go sour is to constantly bring up “remember when…” If you have forgiven your mate for something, no matter what the circumstances, then why are you constantly washing his or her face with it? I Peter 4:8 (ESV) affirms, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Let me suggest this “string of verbs” that can spell “real love” in a relationship: give, take, embrace, kiss, dance, walk, communicate, sing, treat, surprise, adore, admire, delight, value, want, need, cherish and so many more. Remember, again, that love is an action word.

Take notice of the act of real love in this illustration from “Elite Love:”

“Today, I walked up to my office door (I’m a florist) at 7 a.m. to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, ‘I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday, and I don’t want to let her down while I’m away.’ He then placed an order for 52 Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet.”

Again, love is an action word!

The verses and the illustration above are two awesome examples of what is real love. I will close with one recently found that was handwritten by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to Gary Zimet, CEO of Moments in Time, “The note encapsulates the philosophy of King’s life, and that’s why it’s so important. King wrote the note after someone asked him what he believed was the meaning of love.” The note reads, “Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. He who loves is a participant in the being of God.”

Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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