What is love?

I have been guilty of running as soon as I hear the words “I love you” from a person of the opposite gender. Why on earth would I ever run from such a thing? If I had to choose the root cause, I would put my money on fear. Fear of commitment maybe, fear that they won’t love me forever, fear they don’t know what love is and are so delirious in hormones they are convinced its love. Ultimately, I am afraid that I won’t share their same affections, afraid that their love for me will never be reciprocated.

But what exactly is it that I fear I can’t reciprocate? What is love?

As a three year old in Sunday School, I would sing “Jesus loves me, this I know,” but did I really know it then? Do I know it now? By ten years old I had memorized, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son…” Memorized and recited many times, I still didn’t know much about this God or His love, just that he enjoyed my repetitious regurgitations of the Bible. At seventeen, I sung lyrics of “Amazing love, how can it be? That you my king would die for me,” and “How he loves us, oh how he loves us.” In the entirety of my life, it has been drilled into me that Jesus, the God of the universe loves me. But what is love? Until I grasp what love is, I can’t possibly grapple with the implications of God loving me.

I still wonder at what love is, but the more I have wrestled and questioned, the more the mist has been cleared and love made visible. In a sense, love can only be defined through a bunch of other concepts. Love is: selfless, committed, bold, pure, honest, patient. Love is sitting in silence with a friend suffering a broken heart. Love is starting a conversation of reconciliation with an enemy. Love is saying sorry first. Love is the God of the universe knowing mankind fears commitment, yet coming to earth to commit to us anyway. Love is Jesus knowing I will not love him always, knowing I will choose love of other things over my love for him, and yet committing to me anyway. Love is my Heavenly Father knowing I will be deliriously drunk on emotions in loud worship songs, distracted by spiritual gifts, and relishing in human praises for my Christian acts, convincing myself I have true affections for my Abba Father, and yet that Father pursues, heals, and transforms me anyway. Love is the King of kings knowing His love for me can never be reciprocated to quite the same degree, and yet he freely and sacrificially gives Himself and His affections to me on a daily basis.

This is how I have come to understand what love is. Now I ask you, what is love?

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