“I love you”
by Rikki Ferrier
So, Valentines Day is 3 weeks away. If you’re single, you’re probably acutely aware of this, and if you’re in a relationship, this might be your reminder to start preparing those goods!
This holiday is all about love, right? Love love love! I hear and see so many posts about love, relationships, etc. but I’m going to challenge our cultures precept of love, and offer an ideology that may be new to many.
For those who know me personally, they know that love is something I take so very seriously. Love is many things, and love entails many emotions; good and bad, but of all of these, one things stands out the strongest to me: Love is unconditional.
In our culture today, you can’t get on a social media site, such as Instagram or Facebook, without seeing posts about “Do what makes YOU happy”, “Those who love you will never try and change you”, “If they’re not meeting your needs, walk away. You’ll find someone better!”, or surprisingly even, “When they hurt you, just hurt them worse!”etc. Sure these are comforting sometimes, and it can be nice to lean on a cliche to validate your inward desires, but these aren’t the truth. These are not love. This love is all about pleasing oneself, but a relationship is not for YOU. Love is about what you can give, not what you can get.
Our culture teaches conditional love. They teach that the moment someone is no longer making you “happy,” or pleasing you, or meeting your needs, then it’s okay to withdraw your love from them, give them a taste of their own medicine, and pay back wrong for wrong, because that’d be doing what’s fair, right? I mean, they deserve it for the way they acted or for the way they treated you, right??? They hurt you, so you’re going to hurt them BACK! They were rude, hurtful, disrespectful, mean, greedy, inconsiderate, etc, so they had it comin’!! Yeah?
Well, maybe I’m going to burst your bubble here, but that’s wrong on so many levels. That, my friend, is NOT love in its totality. That is basing love off of strictly emotions alone. You show love when you feel it, and you withdraw it when you stop feeling it; however, this is exceedingly flawed. Love is not just your emotions; emotions are fickle and always changing, but Love is consistent; Love is an action.
Love is NOT conditional. If you love someone, truly love (because we’re all about that “true love,” right?), then nothing they do can cause you to remove your love towards them.
When I say nothing, I mean nothing. There is NOTHING someone you love can do, to cause you to remove that love from them. That doesn’t mean the feeling of love is always there, because I promise you, that it won’t be, but what real love is, is how you act once that feeling is gone. What do you do, and how do you react, the moment you’re no longer feeling that love? Because that’s what will tell you if your love is true or if your love is selfish.
So, I’ve said several times that love is an action, and love is shown by the actions you display after the feeling is absent, but what is this action? What IS the actions of love? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
I think people have heard the famous “Love Verse” by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, right? I think we’ve heard it so many times, that perhaps we’ve become numb to what it’s actually saying, so I’m going to write it in the inverse in hopes of seeing it in a new perspective, as this helped me so much.
Love is never impatient. Love is never mean. Love is content with what it has. Love is modest about its successes. Love is humble, and doesn’t get lost in its pride. Love encourages others. Love hurts itself before it hurts another. Love is not easily angered. Love forgets the mistakes of others. Love delights in good. Love doesn’t lie. Love never hurts one another. Love doesn’t distrust. Love isn’t pessimistic. Love doesn’t give up. Love will always succeed.
Now the original.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love does not dishonor others. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects. Love always trusts. Love always hopes. Love always perseveres. Love never fails.
I’m sure every one of us is guilty of every single one of these, so I don’t share this to condemn anyone, or to say that I’ve mastered this, because I most definitely haven’t. I share this because this is the goal. This is what to strive for, not worldly love which is conditional. We don’t strive to be the norm, or to have what the normal have, which is worldly love, but we strive for something different, something pure and true; Love.
“If you want what everyone has, do what everyone does. If you want what few have, do what few do.” -Craig Groeschel
Paul never, ever writes what an individual has to do in order to receive this love, or what credentials they must meet to be given this type of love. THIS IS what you do when you love someone. THIS IS LOVE. If you tell someone that you love them, and you’re not doing these things, no matter what they’ve done to you first, then you’re not acting in true love. We’ve all failed in this, but when you notice you’ve withdrawn your love, then apologize, and ask for forgiveness, and strive to do better next time.
“If you want what you’ve always had, do what you’ve always done. If you want what you’ve never had, do what you’ve never done.” -Craig Groeschel
I hope this was helpful to someone. I share this because it’s something I believe so deeply, and it’s something I try so hard to meet daily. I fail, I fall, and I drop the ball, but dang it, I get back up, dust off the dirt, and I adjust to improve.
DISCLAIMER: I’m explaining how love is, and I’m sharing that love is consistent and no matter what someone does to you, you should always treat them with love, but this does not mean that love is stupid. If someone who you love, and someone who “loves” you back, continues to show you conditional love and mistreatment, and constantly withdraws their love from you, then you must be wise and adjust your future accordingly, which may not include them in it, but that doesn’t mean you stop being kind and loving to them. Removing someone from your life is not showing someone a lack of love, sometimes that’s just wisdom. But how you treat them when you part ways can still be expressed in a loving way.