The best definition of love

THIS is probably the best definition of love:

Love can wait, love has a heart
Love doesn’t begrudge, doesn’t brag, isn’t inflated
Doesn’t act crude, doesn’t take advantage
Doesn’t pick fights, doesn’t plot evil and takes no delight in doing harm
But delights together in the truth.
It is always accepting, always believing
Always hoping, always enduring.

It is from the first letter from Paul to the community in Corinth and you will find similar sentiments in the Muslim Koran and the Hindu and Buddhist texts.

This is a call for unconditional love in a world where that sort of thing is often believed impossible. It is not for the weak-hearted or for those seeking sedatives.
And where is the weakness in the direction to love our enemies?

This is not a simple matter of accepting the disasters others place upon you, shrugging the shoulders and retreating into a cowardly state of acceptance.

It is acknowledging that others, like yourself, are not perfect, and finding some love for those who hurt you while not retreating from your own principles of right and wrong.

Implicit in that belief is the hard truth that we are all capable of devious deeds, untruth and deception.

The escape clause for those with faith is that there is a source of unconditional love and forgiveness that gives us the willpower and willingness to forgive others.

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18 thoughts on “The best definition of love

  1. Unconditional love doesn’t even call for a liking for someone. Just as well I loved my husband, as I surely didn’t like him on occasions!

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    • It’s easy to make a case for ‘like’ being more important than ‘love’.
      I’ve never figured out what ‘love’ actually IS, but if I ‘dislike’ someone I’ll have sound reasons for doing so.

      And while disliking someone (fr cause) is no bar to showing sympathy, empathy, compassion, helpfulness, etc. it does from my point of view bar ‘loving’ them.

      Despite all ‘love’s’ enthusiasts being full of assertins about what ‘love’ DOES ~ or even MEANS, it’s never been satisfactorily explained WHAT it is, as far as I’m concerned.

      From all the evidence, though, it’s NOT user-friendly.

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      • Well Dabs,

        It’s taken me years but I think I’ve finally learned what true love is.

        I think that true love is being able to lay down my life for another. In other words, putting them first and making their needs more important than my own….loving that person more than I love myself and willingly giving up all my rights for their well-being. My two cents worth.

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      • Perhaps Dabs, love is the opposite to hate. If I don’t like someone I can still be patient and kind, but that would be a real struggle if I hated them. Liking implies an affinity, loving implies a caring, and hopefully we have both where spouse and children are concerned.

        There have been times too when I haven’t liked something about one of my children, but never ceased loving them.

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  2. Down at the nitty-gritty level, ‘unconditional’ love (or any unconditional ‘anything’) makes no sense at all, I think……a thought supported by, evidentially, any known concept of ‘god’.

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  3. Should love endure unrequited love?

    As a Catholic, I grapple with a situation of someone I know. They introduced me to this new person they started dating and I could tell instantly that it was a case of love being blind and that good things were not going to come of this relationship. I tried to warn this person but they had no intentions of listening, as they were ‘in love’. A year on and as I guessed, the boyfriend broke every single promise he had made. Still, this person was so crazy about him that she was willing to believe him over and over again. They married and had a child. He took advantage of her financially, lazed about at home, made up the most extravagant and far fetched stories, of which she believed every word (this makes me terribly sad) and now she is going through a depression and trying to think up elaborate schemes to buy back his love (as he has moved out for a while now, had affairs and shirked his father responsibilities).

    I think she should divorce him (one of the reasons being is I suspect that he has a gambling problem) but then I think – what happens if this is her test in life. What if he is meant to learn from her unwaivering love? Am I being a bad Catholic to want to protect her and her children? Does God really expect any person to stay married when really the marriage was a sham?

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    • That’s a tough one Kathleen.

      I agree with you that if it is a sham marriage then there’s no point is prolonging the agony, but just remember that you are on the outside looking in and that sometimes we can get too close i.e., overstep the boundaries (I am guilty of that one!) Sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to distance ourselves, not just for their sake, but for ours too. It is especially hard when it concerns family.

      I was going through a rough patch a few years back, so much so that I had to leave for a bit, for my own sanity. Trouble is that I confided to my closest friends that all was not well, who I found out were themselves having problems in their marriages too, so the end result was that we all just about decided to end our marriages because of all the negativity. I realized afterwards that by opening up myself like I did, I allowed myself to be influenced by their problems and negative opinions of their husbands, which accentuated and magnified mine. It nearly spelt disaster for me.

      Be there for her and the children Kathleen and continue to help where you can, but be a positive influence. Believe me, even if it is justified, she doesn’t need any more negativity flooding her thoughts. She needs to be able to think straight and especially to know that she has friends and family like yourself looking out for her if the marriage ends and that she can make it on her own. I’m praying that she will come to her senses and see him for what he really is before he hurts her any more.

      Hand this situation over to God Kathleen, after all no one loves her more than He does. And don’t forget that it takes time to mature, but it does usually happen sooner or later and most of us do change for the better.

      Again, my two cents worth. 🙂

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      • Thanks Monica. Well, this is more than 10 years long now and I have, for the most part kept out. The only times I’ve possibly overstepped, is when it came to how he was treating her other child (not his). I have to say, that it has taken a great deal of self restraint. I’m just relieved that that young boy is now grown and that he has had a lot of love as a backup that hopefully helped. I’ve had to pray that God will intervene many times. It’s been a watch and wait.

        I think your situation is a little different. From what you’ve told us here, there have been many sacrifices and shows of love on both sides.

        Like you say, I’ll just have to leave it in God’s hands (but secretly I’m hoping that God gives him a swift kick up the butt lol).

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      • Interesting:

        “Last week we discussed how the Orthodox Jewish community has one of the lowest divorce rates of any people group. Because divorce is one of the greatest curses and most destructive forces in any society, I wanted to understand why this community was doing so much better than even the most devout Christian denominations and movements. The reason was easy to see, but it was surprising.

        A main reason why the Orthodox had such a low divorce rate was because they allow divorce. This sounds counter-intuitive until you understand it. The Law of Moses does allow for divorce, and they cannot change this without being guilty of changing the Law. So they developed a brilliant procedure for allowing divorce that would, if possible, bring reconciliation to marriages, and even end up strengthening them.

        Since the Orthodox community allows divorce, couples come to them for their divorce instead of divorce lawyers and divorce court. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that it was to their shame that they went before the heathen for justice because there were no judges among them. Today, this remains the main source of shame for the body of Christ—going before the heathen for justice. The main way Christians do this is for divorce. This is because the doctrines of many Christian movements do not allow for divorce, so believers have no choice.

        Of course, Christian movements can have good reasons for these doctrines that they believe are based on Scripture. However, before addressing this, let’s go back to the Orthodox community and their remarkable success in preserving marriages.

        When a Rabbi blesses any union, whether it is a marriage or a business partnership, he is also expected to continue to pray for and seek to support this union. Any failure of something the Rabbi blessed is considered a personal failure for the Rabbi. This gives him even more impetus to pray for and keep in touch with the unions he blesses to be sure they are doing well and help them, if necessary. This is what elders in the church are also commissioned to do.

        Because a union is the Rabbi’s responsibility, if a couple resolves to divorce, they are required to go to the Rabbi who married them for the divorce. A process is then begun to conclude the divorce, but it is really a brilliant procedure for finding any possible way to reconcile the couple. It begins with reviewing the curses in Scripture that come upon those who break their vows. This is to ensure that the couple knows exactly what they are getting into. In most cases, the couple reconciles at this point, but if not, the process is thorough and almost all marriages are saved—except when there was one particular stronghold that the Orthodox found almost impossible to break—an addiction to pornography.

        It seems that the greatest promises were given to the overcomers of Laodicea because they would have the most to overcome. It is probably much more difficult to overcome the lukewarm atmosphere in the church than it is to walk uprightly under persecution. We are also now living under an unprecedented onslaught of pornography and perversion. It is everywhere you turn. It will take the greatest love for God and one another to choose God and His will over the pervasive spiritual and moral corruption of our time.

        Pornography and impurity will kill your love for God, your love for your spouse, your love for your family, and even your life drive. It will make you a lukewarm underachiever at best. It will rob you of your relationship to God and your purpose in Him for which you were created.

        To keep our first love for God must be our most basic resolve. Our love for God is our greatest possession. It is greater than any treasure or anything we could ever attain and is the most important factor that determines if we have been successful in this life. We must all make a choice as to whether we will be controlled by the love of Christ as the great Apostle Paul wrote, or whether we will succumb to and be led into bondage by the spirit of this world.

        Even so, if you have been divorced, you have not committed the unpardonable sin. You can be reconciled to God, and you can recover your purpose in Him even if the divorce was your fault. This is not beyond the power of the cross to redeem.

        We must also acknowledge that many divorces are not the fault of one of the parties. You can be the best spouse possible and still suffer a divorce. We know this because we are told in Jeremiah 3 that God is divorced. We know this was not His fault and that He was the best husband there could ever be.

        Right now over 50% of Christians are no longer in the fellowship of a local church. It is just about the same percentage of those who have suffered divorce. The body of Christ must recover this group and heal the terrible wound that divorce causes, as well as the shame it has brought on the body of Christ. This must be a top priority if we are going to be a true witness of the coming kingdom. That kingdom is built on forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. There are different views, almost all of which have some merit to them, but we have to get this one right. This is a hole in the ship that will surely sink us if we don’t.”

        Rick Joyner

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      • Interesing, but it makes me think that it would affect those who have a respect for marriage as a holy union. People who would actually be worried about approaching the Rabbi. Not people who are not really observant.

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  4. Love and having a brain go hand in hand. Unconditional love and having a working brain also go hand in hand. And , Kathleen, the word ‘jurisdiction’ springs to mind when I read your dilemma: your friend’s decisions have to be her property (despite your obvious care and concern)? The good lord gave us a complex basket of conflicting qualities.

    Paul

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    • Thanks Paul. Yes, I think she may just have to learn the hard way. I don’t want to see her lose her future security, but it seems there is nothing I can really do.

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  5. The Eskimos have many words for snow of different types. In some languages there are many words for different types of love. The lack in English causes much confusion. Perhaps what we are considering here could be called platonic love?

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