A dozen subsequent late nights laughing with friends, talking into the wee hours of the morning, watching movies, tearing apart and reassembling equipment, playing video games and sardines and cribbage has left me rather quite short on sleep. It is a blissful contentedness, a long-dreamed of sensation full of memories of friends and life and community which has allowed my mind to wander into the deep recesses of my brain where thoughts seldom linger. Ironically, it is exhaustion that has brought me to think of love.

What is love? Ask 10 different people and you will likely get ten different answers. Love is unexpected flowers. Love is that feeling you get when your cell phone jingles in anticipatory excitement of who the caller may hopefully be. Love is long talks under starlit skies, or long nights next to a hospital bed. Love is a mother holding her newborn child. Love is freshly-baked cookies with a Starbucks Carmel Macchiato on a cold snowy winter’s day.

Or is it?

Digging deeper into such thoughts brings the realization that things like that are tied to memories, to emotion, to feelings. Of joy. Of happiness. Of contentedness and excitement and even sorrow. And as such, they are apt to fade, to be altered by circumstances and life and simply the passing of time. And by that definition, they cannot be love.

So what is love?

Scripture tells us a number of things about love. It’s patient. It’s kind. It doesn’t envy or boast. It’s not proud or rude. Love is a lot of things, and love isn’t a lot of things.

But what is love?

Scripture also tells us that God is love. Think about that for a second.




What does that mean? It means that, much more than a mere feeling, true love is permanent, even eternal. True love is unaltered by bad breath, foul language, or the drudgery of one more passing day. True love is being able to look through innocent eyes unclouded by life, unaltered by the values and views of culture, by the false definitions of beauty and expectation. True love is being able to see someone both as they once were, and as they once will be, before sin entered the picture. True love is holding as precious that which is deemed by the world around us as worthless.

When we hear of people “falling out of love,” it is simply that for one reason or another, the feelings have faded. That is not love, it’s emotion, the same way that one morning I can be energized and enthused to go to work, and the next morning dreading it, simply because one day I got a wonderful night’s sleep and the next I drank too much sweet tea before bed.

Look beyond the shell. Look beyond how people appear and sound and act. Somewhere beneath all of that is a person, a real human being, valuable and precious. It is pride, and self-worth, and faulty views that cause us to see otherwise.

If we were all willing to do that, there wouldn’t need to be war, or hate, or prejudice, or hunger, or thirst, or homelessness.

God is love. Love gave everything for us, even His very life. If we want to truly love, we’ll do the same for others. Not necessarily literally, but figuratively.

If love did that for us, how can we not do the same?