Do We Know What Love Is?

It’s Valentine’s Day, and therefore an opportune moment to think about love. Here is one definition that some of you might remember:

That was a few scenes from the 1970’s movie “Love Story” starring Ryan O’Neal. Coincidentally, O’Neal also played in one of my favorite movies, “What’s Up Doc?” (Side note, at the end of “What’s Up Doc?” Barbara Streisand’s character used the same line from “Love Story,” to which O’Neal’s character replied, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”)

I’ve never seen “Love Story,” so I can’t tell you the context of the characters who used that definition: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” But based on those two scenes, I don’t think I’m missing anything by not having seen the movie.

God’s Definition

God is love (1 John 4:8b). It’s in His nature, His DNA. It’s what He does because it’s who He is. Love finds its source in God. Therefore, God’s definition of love is the truest definition. All the others fall short.

How does God define “love”? First Corinthians 13:4-8a is a great place to start:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

There is much more to these verses than what I’ve written below. But if we are Christ’s, then I think it’s fair to say this about God and us from 1 Corinthians 13:

God is patient with us. God is kind to us. When things go well, God is happy for us instead of envious of us. God doesn’t brag about things to make us feel less-than. God does not dishonor us or use us as pawns to boost His own ego. God doesn’t fly off the handle with us or hold a grudge against us. God doesn’t smile when we do or experience wrong, but rejoices when we do and experience what’s right. God always protects us from what can truly harm us. God is always trustworthy. God always hopes the best for us and perseveres for us. God never fails us.

If God loves us like this, should we not love one another?