What is Love?

So now I am giving you a new commandment:
Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
— John 13:34-35 (NLT)

What is love? No, not the Haddaway’s song from the 90’s. It is a topic that music artists often sing about though. Love is something we search for in others, yet often are not sure how to offer it. It is one of the deepest desires in life to know and be known by someone – to be loved.

There are certainly levels of love that we experience. There is an intimate love that we have for a spouse. There is a love that conveys care for the world around us – a global concern. But there is also a love that I want to talk about today – a sort of brotherly love. It is this type of love that we are called upon to show to those who we live with, work with, and do life with.

So what is love? Love is having a high regard for another person. Love is a genuine concern and care for others. Love is being willing to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes and seek to understand things from their perspective. To better understand their situation, their feelings, and their challenges. Love is then coming along side them and helping them navigate life.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

Love is truly put to the test when things are not going well. When expectations are not being met, or issues come up that need to be dealt with immediately. Think of a time in your family where conflict has come up. How did you show your love through that conflict? What are some things you wish you said or did differently?

So often, conflict brings out the worst in us. Many times, after a heated conversation, if the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 were put before us as a test, we would fail miserably. “Well, I wasn't patient, and certainly not kind. My pride was through the roof and I was incredibly rude. I just want it my way... I was irritable, and I have recorded this persons wrongdoing so he wont forget it. I feel like giving up, I have no hope, and I just want to quit!” Any of that sound familiar?

I want to challenge you to begin thinking about how you are going to handle the next conflict you have with love. It might be at home, it might very well be at work. Jesus didn't put a disclaimer on when or who we are to love. When He says, “Love each other,” that includes the person at work you don’t get along with. He doesn't say to wait until they get their act together either. He says, “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”

In order know how we are to love each other, we must have a right understanding of what it took for Jesus to love us. We are just a day removed from Easter, where Christians celebrate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We celebrate what this means and the eternal impact that is has had on so many lives. That kind of love was not something we deserve, or was a result of anything we did to earn it. That is love at it’s purest form.

We are called to reflect that same love to those that we are (by choice or not) given to do life with. Easter may be over, but it’s meaning and impact should transcend one Sunday on the calendar. What happened Easter Sunday should dictate how we live, lead and love on Monday morning when we step into the office (whatever “work” looks like in your life) and each day after.

My prayer is that your heart would be broken for those in your home, in your office and plant, and in your communities. I hope that the next opportunity that you have to show love to another person, whether it’s an opportunity to go out of your way to help, or it’s in the middle of a conflict, that you would be willing to love. You get one shot at this life. Begin to see the people in your life as God’s gift to you and love. Love.