In a world of love found, love lost, love hurt, and love broken, it's so hard to find pure, undefiled love. And I mean all types of love- family love, friendly love, romantic love. In part it is how we view love. How you view something is very, very important in the direction you go with it.
Suppose with me, for a moment, that you had a silver, slightly rusted spyglass (telescope for you modern type people) and the lens was distorted. It appeared that the island was to the right of you, but in reality, it was to the left. So you, trusting in your distorted view of the landscape, headed your ship off to the right. You continue on... you are suffering damage to your ship, for where you believed you saw an island, there was, in place, a patch of sharp rocks and reefs.
Growing weary, you become lonely, and you are tired of never finding the paradise you thought you saw coming. You continue, though. You don't stop a minute to think that you should check your spyglass for defects. But one day... one day you think it's worth a try. So you look. And you see a bubble in the glass. Well gosh gollee! You think of all the time you wasted on this defective navigation device. You sigh. (Go ahead, you can sigh). You're ready to give up... it seems so easy to just move on... forget the island.... die alone.
But wait! A dove comes- a pretty, pure, white, gentle dove. In its small talons it carries a velvet bag (just imagine, okay?). You laugh, because it really is corny that a dove would fly to you with a velvet bag in its talons, but you think "What does it matter? Anything is better than nothing." You take the velvet bag and open it. Inside is a new looking glass. You sigh. Will this one work any better? How can you know?
You stretch it to its full length, carefully inspecting it for flaws. It appears to have none. It's perfect. Solid gold. A breath of hope escapes your lips. What can you lose? Slowly bringing it to your eye you scan the horizon. There it is! Your paradise! It's a southwest direction now... you've got a little backtracking to do. But it's there! You can make it, there's hope now. You have a clear view of the island.
Suppose now, that you had had the gold looking glass from the beginning. Would you have been as likely to hit the rocks? Of course not! Now suppose with me again, that the silver spyglass was the world's definition of love, and the gold spyglass was God's. Who's view would you trust more? Speaking for myself, I'd pick God's!
To accurately understand what it is that is causing the missteps or the right hits, you have to understand the indiviual views of love- the world's and God's. The world's definition of love is as follows: "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person". It is also defined as "a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection". So to love in the eyes of the world revolves around you. How you feel. It's all about the moment. Are you passionate about your husband when he comes home from work tired? Are you affectionate towards your wife when she nags you yet again? When your brother is annoying you do you feel warm and personal with him? Are you deeply affectionate towards your parents when they punish you? Probably not...
The world is based off of feelings. If you don't feel it, it can't be real! So many times we don't feel like doing things, but we have to do them anyway. Why is it not this way with love? When you don't make your job on time on a regular basis, whether you feel like it or not, you lose it. Why is it that love should be any different? If you don't continue to love, regardless of whether or not you feel like it, will your love not be lost?
This is such a distorted, broken view! Just think of it... a husband saying to his wife, "I don't feel passionate about you anymore, so I'm looking elsewhere." Or a father saying to his child, "I don't feel that we have an emotional connection, so I am going to let you live your own life, and I'll live mine." What if the sister said to the brother, "I don't feel that we have any affection towards each other, so I say we forget the other exists." Perhaps that seems dramatic, but it happens, and more often now, than ever before!
What is it that has changed? Well, numero uno (number one, for the unSpanish speakers), the connection of love and commitment has been lost. As we will see later on, commitment is a great part of love. Today commitment is at a low ebb. You can take what you want and don't have to worry about those said "strings attached". You can take a heart, shake a heart, and break a heart, and move on as if you were sliding down the back of a greased pig. But hey! It's all part of the game. It's understood. Nothing lasts, right? It's all for the here and now. What a desolate view! It's a view of "I'll take what I can get, and take the better things as they come along". I'll call it the pinata syndrome... it's a break the paper heart, grab all the candy you can get type deal. How... desperate!
So we've seen the view of the world... the pinata syndrome. But how does God define love? Well according to His spoken word, love is "patient, kind, not envious, nor boastful, not arrogant, nor rude; doesn't insist on it's own way, not irritable or resentful; does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
So love in God's definition is not about us. It's about the other person. It's about what you can do for them. Not what you can get out of them, and how you can wring all you possibly can from their heart before moving on to the next pinata. When the husband comes home from work.... it's kind. When the wife is nagging again... it's patient. When the brother is annoying you again, it's not irritable or resentful. When the parent disciplines you, it does not rejoice at the wrongdoing, but it rejoices with the truth. Love bears the burdens of the other, it hopes with and in the other, and it endures all things.
Love is tough. It's work. But the rewards.... are amazing. The rewards are eternal. Sure... love hurts. Even when we are doing it God's way, sometimes, it hurts. When the spouse/parent leaves you. Imagine how hard it is to love them! And yet, God doesn't ask us. He says to love our enemies. Love the one's that hurt us the most. Why? Because Jesus did. So yes, God's love hurts, too, but the difference between this hurt, and the afore mentioned hurt, is that one leaves you torn, desperate, and with no alternative... this hurt gives you hope. It gives you the hope of a Savior, the hope of a coming salvation, the hope of a God who is love, even when you don't think you can take that next step. The hurt from this love reaps rewards eternal... it is the complete opposite of anything the world can ever offer. It's filled with grace and mercy.
But God's love doesn't always hurt.... sure it's hard, but it's fulfilling, too. It's courageous, selfless, astounding, and captivating. It changes lives, and knits hearts together, rather than tearing them apart. It glues the broken hearts back together, and gives you strength and energy when things get hard. It thrives in tough spots and stays steady through the calm. God's love is not possible by man's power alone. Thats what is so unique about it. The world's love puts power in the hands of the man, but God's love puts man in the hands of power. It's not about how you feel at the time. It's active. It's something you do. It's a workout. But because you are so in shape, you can stay strong. You can stay on course. You can head towards the calmer waters when the storms arise.
God's love see's that love is commiting. It's saying, "I will love this person, whether I feel like it or not. I will choose to love them."I don't think that it's possible to have love without commitment. God commits to us, and we commit to Him, too. Without a commitment we are not His. It's simple. And God sticks to what He says. He does not forsake His word. It should be the same for how we love others.
The other difference between the different views on love is the strength by which each stems from. Love in the view of the world is all about the strength of the man/woman and his/her feelings. Love in the view of God is that God gives us strength by which we love. It is not about us... it's always about Him, it's always about the other person. It is never about us.
The Bible says that in our power things are impossible, but with the power of God all things are possible. We cannot love correctly in our own power. That is the beauty of it... we have to rely, trust, and commit on others to love properly. It's so beautiful when it's not about us! When we can trust and rely on the almighty God rather than our constantly fluxuating feelings, then there is so much more stability and fulfillment!
So in closing, I say, that you have to decide for yourself what looking glass you choose. No one can pick for you. It is your decision, and it is an action you must put it into play. You can get by with the first, and deal with what comes, or you can work for the second and enjoy eternal reward. It's an important choice. One you need to make now, and stick with forever.