Love: Love Yourself

Another entry in the Love series. I’m not sure why this wasn’t in the initial run of the series, but it’s time to talk about loving yourself.

You know, I briefly mentioned in my soon to be unpublished book, Interpretations & Illustrations that if you can’t love yourself, how can you love others, and how can you expect others to love you? It’s quite a mouthful, but it’s so true.

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Love: Can you earn love?

Basically a year later and I’m adding a new entry to the Love series. Since I’ll be making references to my previous posts, I will link you to the category dedicated to this topic. I suggest you read through the other posts.

The Love series.

Now, let’s begin.

I ask the question of “can you be lovable?” but it might not be in the way you expect. See, I’m not asking if you yourself can be lovable. I’m asking if we, as a people, can be lovable because, as you know, we are to love others. We love our family, friends, and enemies. We love God and ourselves. Everybody gets loved.

So, but, can we…earn this love? That’s my question.

It’s not a question of if we deserve it. That’s not quite where I’m going. I’m saying, can we do something on our end to bring out the love of others?

At first, this seems like a simple “yes”. I strongly believe it’s “yes” but…and by now, you know I always have a but. I mean that with one or two “T’s”. Anyway, I think we can earn love, but I don’t know if that’s something we should be doing.

See, if we earn love, that means somebody may not be doing their job of loving regardless of what you do or who you are. See what I mean? Like, if I’m a complete jerk to everybody in the office, I may not earn love from others. However, I venture to say it doesn’t matter if we earn love or not. We are supposed to be loved, as we are supposed to love everyone.

Ah, but I see what you’re saying. It can be hard to love people who go all out making sure they treat you like the scum of the earth. But, again, we are supposed to show love to our enemies. Now look, this doesn’t mean we just allow the hurt and hate to consume us.

That’s where I know I gotta explain because some of you didn’t hear the first part of this post.

The question then becomes how do you actually show love to enemies in such a way that it doesn’t appear to be like you’re letting things go like there’s no problem? It’s a combination of knowing what love is (I talked about this in the series already) and then projecting that love onto our enemies.

In fact, if we look at the primary definition of love as I wrote it, we see that you don’t actually need to have a personal relationship with someone to show them love. I think that’s what makes it really…easy. But hard. Ah…

Again, the cashier at the store, or your spouse. You can show them that same exact base love.

So, I think you get it, right? Like, loving someone does not mean you put up with their foolishness. If anything, you simply don’t resent the foolishness. You forgive the foolishness.

So, if we go back to my question of earning love, it’s a sad reality that we actually do earn love, but we’re not supposed to.

Put it like this: We did nothing…NOTHING to earn Jesus coming down to sacrifice His life for us. We didn’t live a certain life as humanity and Jesus was like “they got enough love invested. Time to cash out.” If anything, it was the opposite. The world was so f’d up, Jesus was like, “I wanna help them out”.

But, the world is all about earning. Earn that paycheck to live your life. Right? Whatever it is, whether at the office, in the arena, on the stage, or wherever. We earn. So, naturally, we feel like we need to earn love.

Really, this post’s question is the result of a mindset we have of the opposite side of things. Since we believe our love is only given to those who earn it, we also believe we have to earn love.

But that’s just not right. If the Bible pushes so hard on loving everybody, regardless of how they treat you, then I strongly believe that people don’t earn love. This is something that just is. Loving someone should be as constant as breathing or blinking. It’s a part of our makeup, in a spiritual sense. Our DNA is to love.

You know how when you blink, you just blink. Heck, you blinked quite a bit while reading this post, right? It’s like an automated function, but then, you can override it. You can consciously blink or not. Just like breathing. It’s an automated function but you can stop breathing if you want or take a really deep or shallow breath.

That’s how loving should be. It should be an automated function, no matter what. You shouldn’t need to think about it. You should just love.

Here’s something: Let’s say you hold your breath or keep your eyes open. Things get…painful…right? Right. Because, even though you CAN stop it, your body NEEDS it to happen.

I will venture to say it’s the same thing with loving. If you stop loving, it will hurt you, buddy. So, keep loving. Not loving can kill you.

I mean, God is love and God is life. So, in a way, love is life. Like, love and life go hand in hand. God’s love is a powerful force that can do things. Just His love. It’s actually hard to grasp but I am serious. His love alone has power. Ah, but maybe that’s another post.

Anyway, it’s time to move on from the idea that we earn love. We really shouldn’t be put in the position to earn love in the first place so that’s the answer to that. If anything, I could have named this post “should we earn love?” It sounded better the other way though.

Love: Why Do We Love?

Why do we love people? Like, where does this feeling come from? I always wondered about such things.

I asked one of my sisters, Andrea, why she loves someone. After a few moments of thought, she said because she could trust that person.

Trust.

We seem to have reasons; perhaps subconscious, that cause us to love. Perhaps that helps us decide who to love more.

My sister and I talked about it more. I asked her a simple question: So, if you couldn’t trust me, then you wouldn’t love me?

I also asked her: Is trust your sign of love? If I don’t appear to trust you, would you think I didn’t love you?

It was a deep day.

It makes me wonder about the source of love. To me, I think it’s legit to have various reasons that bring out a stronger love for an individual. Andrea is my sister, though not biological. Why do I love her?

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Love: What About Enemies and Unsaved?

You knew this was coming, kid. We gotta talk about love for the people we may not “want” to love.

We know we are supposed to love our enemies and the Bible does tell us why. It’s a standard thing: God loves us all, and we should as well.

As I have said, love is a choice…perhaps more than a feeling. We surely don’t feel like loving the “bad guys”, but here we are. Jesus calls us on it too. Matthew 5:43-48. In there, He asks us two questions. 1: If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? 2: And if you greet only your people, what are you doing more than others? He compares us doing that to tax collectors and pagans. Yikes.

Jesus then tells us to have perfect love.

Let’s talk about something though. It would appear that God holds more value in loving people who are so called not easy to love versus loving people who are so called easy to love.

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Love: Is There True Love?

I’ve been asking people recently in preparation of this post if they thought true love existed, in a romantic sense. The answers were mostly “no”. As a person who envisions dying a virgin, I happen to think there is true love.

I think the original definition of love plays a factor in this. I think this definition covered all forms of love, which is why I love the wording of it. It wasn’t too specific to anything and yet it covered everything.

In any relationship, you hope the person you are with would match that definition of love. Lover, sister, mother, friend. No matter what, we want that love.

Because of that, yes, true love exist. Right?

Okay, but romantic love does have some extra…flair…to it. I think I need more help, here. Let’s look at a biblical reference to the relationship between husband and wife.

Ephesians 5 is really good for this. Let’s break down love for husband and wife.

Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us wives should submit to their husbands, just as the church to Jesus. 25-30 tells the husband to treat the wife as himself.

This is a perfect thing if done the right way.

I think we need more, don’t we? Also, we can talk about what this love is, but we still have to answer if it can exist. Let’s continue.

For a husband, his goal is to basically treat her like his most prized possession…yet, NOT an object. He takes care of her. Listens to her. Supports her. Because she is viewed as one with him, this is very important.

This goes beyond sex. In fact, sex is only a part of romantic love and should not be the center of it.

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Love: How God Loves Us

We understand what love is as well as who can love and why to love.

I mentioned at the beginning of the series that God is love. We will never truly understand love because God is love and we can never understand God because His ways are higher than our ways. That’s why this series is a tricky one.

Yet, we have some examples of how God loves us. I guess we can say actions speak louder than words.

Probably the most famous example of God’s love is John 3:16. God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die in our place so that we can have eternal life. When we reflect on the fact that Jesus is God, this means that, basically, God sacrificed Himself for us.

When always consider the ultimate sacrifice as the ultimate sign of love. God sets this perfect example of such love. When you look at the definition of love, you can see God matched the criteria.

God really doesn’t have to do anything else to show love, yet He does. Why does He love us? Because He does…but also, because He is love.

Considering that definition, God embodies that. When we think of that, we think of Him…or we should. It’s really interesting. I talked about how the way we treat others is really how we treat God. Not only does He do such things, He expects love in return. If we don’t love His people…the people of His likeness, then we truly are not loving God. Makes sense to me.

Why we love people is a mystery and it probably will always be simply because love is a mystery. God’s love is likely too much to comprehend. Yet, we are capable of producing this love. It is the very same love so, as we love, we are love. We become the fruit we produce.

Oh boy, let me stop right here.