What is love? The popular song follows with “Baby don’t hurt me,” indicating the love is the opposite of being hurt. It defines love as a feeling. If something feels good, it might be love. If it feels bad, it can’t be love.
There’s already a term for that, and it’s called “feelings.” But feelings aren’t love, and love isn’t feelings. By pairing the two, the world denigrates love to nothing more than the parts of our brains which influence how we feel.
That’s not love. But what is love?
Agape (Godly love) often feels wonderful, but it sometimes doesn’t feel good at all. The thing of it is, Agape has nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with one’s long-term physical and spiritual well-being. Whatever good feelings come from Agape love are the by-product of a righteous life. Jesus summed up all the commands of the Old Testament into: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” summarizing, “There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Sadly, the world has corrupted the meaning of the word “love,” pairing it with feelings. The world teaches, “if it feels good, it must be love. If it doesn’t feel good, it can’t be love.” We know, however, that many things which feel good are actually very bad for you, beginning with drugs and alcohol, but encompassing everything which gives you an adrenalin or endorphin rush. Many are ok in moderation, but nothing is good for you to the extreme. Even exercise, taken to the extreme, takes a heavy and permanent toll on your body. Walks or even light runs, fine. Running 10 miles a day, however, is very bad for you, long-term. Even relationships, types of work, and other endeavors can be bad for you if taken to the extreme, and many things which feel good are bad for you in any amount.
Thus, the world is wrong. And because the world is wrong, those of who who know the true meaning of love must counter it with truth, in love. Doing so may hurt, but it’s still love. It won’t accept falsehood, but it’s still love. It won’t tolerate sinful behavior, but it’s still love. It won’t tolerate false doctrine, but it’s still love. It will rebuke those who have erred, and will expose those who are leading others astray.
So, what is love? Is that all there is to love, rebuking and countering wrong? Of course not. It’s also all about reaffirming that which is righteous and good in the eyes of God. It’s about affirming people, building them up in love. Both understanding and accomplishing this, however, requires wisdom.
God and his one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, were right all along, and they have graciously imparted their wisdom in a book we refer to as the Holy Word of God, or more commonly, the Bible. Therein you’ll find the keys to all manner of success, happiness, and joy.
When we choose Christ, we choose God, his righteousness, and love.