“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
/ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is selfless. That's right, self-less.
That's quite possibly the hardest part about it. Probably also a huge part of what makes it a choice. It's also something I've felt convicted about lately.
Loving selflessly means giving love without expecting anything in return, namely without expecting love in return. Loving this way feels pointless. It hurts. It feels damaging and tiring and it's crazy-making at times, but to love this way is to love like Jesus.
Jesus loved us enough to be crucified so we could live. Yet millions of the people he died for completely deny his existence. Millions say he was a real man, but that's all he was. Still millions hate him and many mock him. Some claim to love him yet they do the opposite. Some truly love him. And he loves us ALL the same. He offers the same love to each one of us, despite the pain, and knowing full well that many will never return it.
I don't want to love at all if I can't love truly. I can't love truly if I can't love selflessly. I can't love selflessly without Jesus. Loving selflessly is painful. It's all so painful. The pain of a healing scar can be worse than the original wound. But that's what living for Jesus does. That's what loving Him does. That's what loving and living selflessly does. It heals the wounds and old scars. And the process, although painful, is worth it. Because the end is worth it. The people are worth it. Jesus is worth it.
The wound inflicted when we give love and don't receive it back is only healed by the all-surpassing love of our Creator. The healed skin is stronger than before. Where pain once festered one can no longer be harmed, not because of walls of hate, but because of arms of love.
Don't search for love from other people, they will let you down. Don't give love because you want love in return. Give love because you've already been given love and it is overflowing. Give love because you were given it before you even wanted it or knew you needed it and you have the opportunity to do that for someone else; to show that Divine love of Jesus to someone else.
The truth is you already have the love of the Lord, which is all the love you could ever need, and the only love that will ever fully satisfy. So give love because you have been filled with it by the Holy Spirit. Give love because God gave you it to share. When you give love from the wellspring Jesus gave you, you will never run out. You will always have love to give and always be given it. Endlessly, selflessly.
Give that love because people need it. Because when you love that way you show them Jesus.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”