I really like this topic ‘love’. I think it’s the greatest desire of literally everyone on earth to be loved, whether we admit it or not.

We all start off quite selfish when it comes to love. Tantrums, demanding all our parents time, waiting for them to do things for us. However with a loyal heart. A heart devoted to our parents, creating a bond that would be very hard for anyone to break. I guess this comes from the respect witnessing the things our parents sacrificed for us, mostly in the form of time. Time really is the most valuable gift in the world, and someone willing to give us a lot of their time is already a good example of love. But it doesn’t stand as the best example alone. Someone could be willing to give us all their time, yet that time could be filled with all sorts of demanding expectations (and this isn’t as cute on an adult as it is on a baby), while another person could give us less of their time, for example a taxi driver working 24 hour shifts, yet be selfless with the little time they are able to offer us. Which brings me to the question, what are we in love with?

I was reading a short story recently about a burn victim. She is an ex-model who suffered burns to 65 per cent of her body, making her physically unrecognizable after being trapped in a grass fire during a 100 kilometer ultra-marathon. Her boyfriend then decided to quit his job to care for her recovery and they then soon married. When he was asked during an interview with CNN if there was any moment he thought about leaving her and hiring someone to take care of her so he could move on with his life, his reply touched the world. He said “I married her soul, her character, and she’s the only woman that will continue to fulfill my dreams.”

It’s quite clear what this man is in love with. Despite the serious physical changes to his wife’s appearance, it didn’t change his love for her, as he was in love with her soul. To him, she had such a beautiful soul that no matter what her outward appearance looked like, she would still always be the most beautiful person to him.

It’s not surprising that many relationships don’t last, as the world puts such an emphasis on physical appearance. A lot of us end up chasing the wrong things, more often choosing someone who has an attractive appearance yet an ugly soul. In cases like these I would guarantee that after several months and many dates later, they won’t be so attractive anymore and we will most probably end up feeling we wasted our precious time. But how do our souls get so ‘ugly’? I guess it’s through a series of hurts. Maybe we didn’t have parents who gave us their time, or maybe we had other close negative influences. There are many reasons that could contribute to us hardening our hearts, resulting in us looking at people as objects to be used instead of souls we can give to and encourage. It’s the mentality that the world owes us somehow. Whatever we missed out on, we can now take back from the world. So we become self seeking instead of giving.

It’s no wonder that with all this hurt in the world which has the spiral effect of making us hurt others, often without us even realising how we got there, that God gives us this wise advice…

Luke 6:35
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

(He’s most definitely always several steps ahead of us, which is why it’s a good thing to seek his advice before we make decisions.)

However while we must love our enemies and fight evil with more good, who we choose to stand by our side for the rest of our life should be someone who already knows how to love us for the right reasons, or at least is nearly there and working wholeheartedly on their short comings, or else we have already guaranteed ourselves a failure before we even start.

When we are in love with the wrong things..

1. Instead of giving our time to make our partner happy, we give our time expecting our needs to be fulfilled by our partner.
2. We feel more love when our partner looks good, that the beauty that comes from their soul.
3. Instead of listening to our partners needs we are too busy focusing on our own needs.
4. We are looking for our partner to complete in us things that were missing.
5. We are using our past hurts to fuel our current relationship, maybe to prove something to ourselves or someone else.
6. We have a high list of expectations from our partner making them feel like they are never quite good enough.
7. We are more comfortable with superficial, or ‘light’ conversations than the deeper conversations, or conversations of the future.
8. We are not open to being corrected and have built up an automatic defense that makes us constantly feel like we are being attacked, even if we are not.

These are very clear signs of a person that is broken, looking to the partner to seal the gaps. The qualities of a whole person on the other hand would include patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This would be a good example of someone ready to give more than take.

So when we are in love with the right things…

1. We give our time selflessly, not expecting our partner to do us favors in exchange for our kind deeds, but simply because we want them to be happy.
2. We are eager to listen to our partners concerns. It’s not always about us.
3. We see the beauty in our partners soul, more than their physical appearance.
4. We are not perfect human beings, but are independent mature, wise, unselfish, dependable, and have a godly character and humility.
5. We have forgiving hearts and are not bringing baggage in any form (such as pride, defenses, anger) from the past into our current relationships.
6. We are happy to discuss deeper issues, even if it were a sensitive subject to us as we trust the person we are talking to fully.
7. We are open to being lovingly corrected, knowing our partner only has our best interest at heart.

Loving the right way is the most beautiful gift we can give to others, as well as being the most longed for gift by literally everyone in the world. But we have it so wrong when we spend our lives waiting for this gift to fall into our lives instead of working hard at becoming this gift for someone else.

John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
Lao Tzu