“I fell in love.” If I had a penny for every time I heard that quote I would have enough money to treat myself to dinner, dessert and a movie. “Love” is one of the most overused words in our culture. It is used so often that it becomes a word that lacks significant meaning. We say that we love food, music, movies, activities, people, etc. The word “love” is thrown around more than a football on Super Bowl Sunday, yet what does it mean to actually love someone?
Falling in love seems to be the theme in every love story. What if I told you that you can’t fall in love? What if I told you that love isn’t a feeling, but a choice? In today’s culture, divorce has become common, and when we hear of a marriage lasting twenty or more years we give a standing ovation.
How come so many marriages and relationships fail? One reason is because of the belief that we “fall in love.” When you meet that special guy or girl that catches your interest, you want to fall in love with them. You want to experience those feelings of strong infatuation that you can’t help but feel. We become infatuated with people because we like the things about them. Be careful not to equate infatuation with love. The moment you start to notice things about someone you don’t like is the moment your infatuation for them begins to fade.
Long-lasting relationships are hard to come by because our infatuation with people dies out when we begin to experience tension and difficulty within the relationship. The more we spend time with someone and the more we get to know them, the more we see their imperfections. If we fall in love based on what we like about someone, we just as easily can fall out of love based on what we don’t like about someone.
Luke 6:35 says “love your enemies.” Enemies are people we don’t like, but can you love those you don’t like? Yes! We don’t have to like someone to love them. For instance, I may not like a co-worker because of how they treat me, but I can still love them. If love was a feeling then I would not love my co-worker because they didn’t give me a reason to. Fortunately for us, love isn’t a feeling. Certainly, when you love someone you have strong feelings of affection for them, but if love was limited to merely emotion and feelings then it wouldn’t be love, it would be infatuation.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ died while we were still sinners. He loved us in the midst of our sin and imperfection. In fact, even when we deliberately sin and stab Christ in the back, he is quick to embrace and lavish us with His grace and love.
Many times we fail to love others because when we are wronged we lose those feelings we associate with love. When those feelings fade, a choice has to be made. Will I love this person or not? Your coach, teammate, classmate, family member, friend, co-worker, and even your spouse may seem like your enemy at times because of how they treat you, yet in those moments when your lovey-dovey feelings are absent for those people, we have a choice to make. Will I fight fire with fire or will I humble myself and choose to love this person?