True Love Conquers All"True love conquers all!" is the fairy tale refrain, and it tugs at our hearts when we hear it. If this isn't true it should be our hearts seem to say! What is "True Love" though, and does it really last? If it has such resonance within us it must exist somewhere. The Bible says that love is the fulfillment of every law... if only we could love right everything else would follow. (Mat. 22:35-40) It also says that without love even the most philanthropic work and tremendous talents are useless. (I Cor. 13:1-3) It even says that it is one of the three things that will last forever, even when other seemingly important things fade away as unimportant, and of those three it is paramount in value. (I Cor. 13:8-13) So what is "True Love" it and how can we get it? Again, the Bible has something to say about that...
(I wanted to post this on the 14th, but life happens...)
(I wanted to post this on the 14th, but life happens...)
What is True Love?
True Love is...
Patient - True love can wait. It isn't in a big rush or hurry. It let's the beloved have time whether it's as simple as time to finish up a task or as difficult as changing a bad habit or difficult place in life. True love has all the time in the world to wait on, and for, the beloved and won't become angry or depressed if that time seems overly long.
Kind - True love is never cruel or mean. It is always kind towards the beloved, seeking the beloved's best good in a gentle manner.
True Love is not...
Selfish - Though this comes later in the list I put it here because selfishness is essentially the antithesis of true love. Selfishness is a "me first" attitude that places the beloved beneath it. True Love puts the beloved first, the beloved's needs ahead of itself. Selfishness essentially kills the ability to love truly, and destroys the relationship. It even can (and often does) destroy the beloved.
Envious - True love doesn't have the green eyes of jealousy, envious of what the beloved may have gained or achieved. Envy is another selfish "me first" attitude that gets angry if the beloved has something good instead of being happy for the beloved.
Boastful and Conceited - True love isn't conceited and boasting of all of its "greatness". Boasting and conceitedness say, "Look at me! See how great I am!" but that is not true love. True love focuses on the beloved, not itself. True love does have greatness (as we already said), but doesn't need to flaunt it. True love is all about the best good of the beloved, not itself.
Acting Improperly - True love never pushes the beloved into wrong doing. It never says, "If you love me you would..." to back the beloved into a corner of guilt and violate the beloved's own conscience. True love never behaves wrongly towards the beloved either. To do this sacrifices the best good of the beloved for selfish reasons.
Provoked - There is nothing that can provoke true love to anger and retaliation. It can suffer any insult and injury. True love is so selfless that nothing the beloved does can make it want to harm the beloved. Right there, if I didn't realize it before, I now understand that true love - as wonderful a quality as it is - is really out of my league. Could I ever really be that selfless? How wonderful it would be to be so invincible to anger or be loved by someone that was, though.
Keep a Record of Wrongs - True love doesn't just forgive, it doesn't even remember the wrongs done to it by the beloved. It doesn't keep a litany of wrongs to throw in the beloved's face every time it gets ticked off. It looks at the beloved with tinted glasses, seeing only the good for the beloved's sake.
True Love is...
Made Sad by Unrighteousness - There is one thing that grieves true love and makes it sad. That is unrighteousness. When there is injustice, when the beloved is snared in ways that are not right, when the straight and true path of best good has been warped into something destructive, true love grieves deeply.
Made Happy by Truth - On the other hand true love is happy when that which is truth shines out, when injustice and evil is shown up for the terrible things that they are and the best good can be clearly seen by all, because it is truth that is the beginning of changing wrong into right. Only truth can help the beloved choose the path to the beloved's best good.
Bears All Things - True love can bear any burden because of the joy of love. No work is too hard, no difficulty too unbearable for true love.
Believes All Things - True love doesn't just hope that things can get better. It knows that it will. It believes that the best will come for, and be achieved by, the beloved.
Hopes All Things - True love knows that the difficulties will be overcome. It is the eternal optimist. It has joy in the thought of the future.
Endures All Things - Because of all this true love can endure anything. No trouble or problem, no pain or suffering, no oppression of any kind can bring it down. It continues on forever, for the sake of the beloved and the joy of their love.
How Can You Get True Love?
It seems pretty clear from looking at what this "True Love" is that it is beyond human capacity to achieve. As noble and beautiful as it is we just can't get past our own selfishness, the "it's all about me" attitude we walk about life with. When we try to be noble the thought always intrudes, "What do I get out of this?" and we turn to anger or despair instead of love. So if true love is so impossible why is it even offered as an option... no, as a deep abiding desire yearning within us? Yes, God loves with this kind of love but how can I, a mere human? God says over and over in the Bible that we are to love Him and love each other, so it should be possible... shouldn't it? Or could it be so simple as to ask?
Jesus said, "Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matt. 7:7-8)" I know this is usually applied to general needs like food and clothes, but it says "good gifts" and what better gift could there be than true love? It says that if we ask God for wisdom He will generously give it to us (James 1:5), then what about love? Now I remember what I just wrote in Announcements about my motivation for carrying on with this site not so long ago. I couldn't do it for any kind of hope for gain or even shear stubbornness, but I could do it out of love for Him... Years ago, when I was in high school, I had no feelings of love for God, only gratitude and duty (cold emotions). Love was lacking, and I knew that it wasn't right. So I prayed for the love to love Him with, day after day, week after week, month after month, till I forgot what I was praying for. I'm not really sure when I stopped praying even, though I remember my fervent prayer. Then one night, in my freshman year in college, my first room mate asked me how I could love God so much. At that moment I realized that sometime between my first prayer and her asking me that, God had taught me how to love Him. If He could teach me how to love Him, He could easily teach me how to love other people (and maybe has been already). It really could be as simple as asking.
So, how can you achieve "True Love" in your life? Just ask the One who is the origin of Love. (Of course you would have to belong to Him to have His power in your life to begin with.) 1 John 4:7-19