I don’t believe in love at first sight. Attraction, yes. Infatuation, maybe. But love? Definitely not. Love isn’t something that can be developed on the spot. Love is displayed through sacrifice. There’s only one person in the world I would say that I truly loved the moment I laid eyes on him, and that’s only because I had spent the two years leading up to that moment praying for his salvation. So honestly, it wasn’t love at first sight after all; it was love before first sight.
When my brother was asked if he had ever fallen in love, he responded, “Um, love is a verb, not something you fall into.” While I know my amazingly spiritual little brother isn’t the original author of that statement, I loved the definition, and sometimes I need the reminder.
Love is not a feeling. It isn’t butterflies in your tummy or stars in your eyes. Love is a choice one must make every day. I firmly believe that the main reason for divorce is that someone stopped choosing to love. Maybe when the sunshine and rainbows have faded from view and reality sets in, someone realizes that marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And instead of fighting through the difficulties, they simply make the wrong choice and give up.
I’ll admit that I don’t always want to love my parents or my siblings or my coworkers, but instead of turning my back and shutting them out, I choose to love them through the difficulties. I choose to forgive their thoughtless actions or irritating habits because I remember there was some reason I started loving them in the first place. At one point in time, I deemed them worth loving. And when I get over my anger, I’m sure I’ll find that they’re worth loving still.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is patient and kind; not envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking or easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Never fails. And according to 1 Peter 4:8 it also covers over a multitude of sins.
That doesn’t sound to me like the definition of love I so often hear in our culture. According to the world, one loves until the feelings last, takes what one wants from a relationship, and walks away when satisfaction is no longer felt. To top it all off, we excuse this behavior with trite sayings such as, “It wasn’t meant to be.”
I’ll tell you what wasn’t meant to be. Love was not meant to be about us; it was meant to be about others. Love means giving until it hurts, sacrificing until you bleed. Love is sharing another’s joy, but also feeling their pain. Love has been known to spend endless nights crying itself to sleep because it is so broken for its beloved. Love doesn’t fade like a passing emotion because it’s not an emotion at all.
Love is a verb. Live like you believe it.