I am not sure what you think love is, so permit me to ask, “What does love mean to you?

Take a few moments to answer that question, and I need you to hold that thought as you read along. By the time I am finished with this post, your reaction will be one of three, and what love means to you may be the only reason to find hope!.

First Reaction: You might think ok, I get it. You are right; we are all turning into Bin Laden – decisive, determined, and destructive.

Second Reaction: You may think ok I get it. You are right, what is the whole point of trying. As long as I and my own are fine, the rest is of little importance

Third Reaction: You may think ok, I get it. You are right; we all love in our own different ways.

Being human though, there will be people that don’t fit into any of these categories, and I expect that, so I am not too bothered.

I was at a church last week, and the pastor mentioned that the things that matter the most in life are not seen, his example was “take Love for example”, every body feels it and it makes life worth living, but we can’t see it. It is so true, but in my journeys in life, I have found that the meaning of love has been the underlying cause for most of the problems we face today.

Would you agree with me that even the bible’s advice on love is limited to individual effort, meaning and interpretation? Many places in the bible talks about love and probably the most striking one is “God is love” – 1 John 4:8. (For he who does not love does not know God).

It is very important however to know that your understanding of love is the single most important factor that determines your practice of love.

Hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:37 – 40 when a Pharisee {an expert in the law} asked him “teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

In loving “the Lord your God, Jesus made it clear that it is with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” i.e. with everything that you have got.

In loving your neighbour, Jesus simply said “as yourself”. Isn’t it striking that the onus for the love you give to your neighbour {which includes everyone} is dependent on what you think love is to yourself.

No matter what the global acceptance of love is, individual understanding of love is what dictates the way we behave and relate to other people.

I am tempted to say there is no love in this world anymore, but many will be offended because many many people still love, unfortunately, the way we love is probably closer to hate than love.

I have re-defined love in this post, and you may not agree, but what I have seen is this, people do really L.O.V.E

L – Loneliness:

Loneliness is one of the most celebrated states of existence in the world. Although we don’t admit to being lonely, we coin the phrase we are just alone. It is like saying I am not obese, I am just fat or like I am white and I am not racist, I just don’t like blacks. {Apologies for using really extreme examples, I just want you to see the irony}. In marriages, loneliness is one of the major causes of break ups. Family counsellor Dennis Rainey, in Staying Close, warns: “Unless you lovingly and energetically nurture and maintain your marriage, you will begin to drift away from your mate. You’ll live together, but you will live alone.”

Oh, do you know that loneliness is based on love? I love my wife, so I don’t want to bring the frustration of work home; I never talk about my work at home. I love my friends for who they are, it is better to see once a year so that we don’t end up fighting each other. I love my kids so I don’t encroach into their space unless it is very necessary. Little we knew that our expression of “love” is the breeding ground for loneliness and ultimately depression?

O – Oppression

While the oppressor is showing love, the recipient is feeling hurt and pain. Who do we really blame {if there is any to blame} for the twisted expressions of love that is taking root in our society? In Austria, when Josef Fritzl was arrested for imprisoning his daughter for 24 years, raped her many times, had 8 children with her and his wife never knew, the whole world was taken aback. A month later, the Argentina Fritzl was exposed and  a few months later, the British Fritzl was exposed too. These are fathers that fathered children with their daughters.

If you cringed at these stories, I am sorry, but love is now very synonymous to oppression. Simply put, when you love, you oppress. Even in a dating relationship, one person bans the other from having friends, or talking to friends, checks every message on mobile, threatens, beats up etc all in the name of “Love” {its not just Rihanna and Chris Brown, even Sean and Jenny down your street do it too}

V – Violence

Love is an emotion that expresses itself in many visible forms. While I am not here to lecture you about love, I have noticed the two edges of the impact of love. The love that a lion has for its cub makes it tear up an antelope with no second thought.

The love that a country has for her people makes it eliminate any potential threat to their safety {I am not including Sadam Hussein in that, you decide}. The love that a people have for an ideology makes them defend it with all they’ve got even if such ideology is wicked beyond the devil himself {ok that is exaggerating a little}. But truly, do you think terrorists have anything they are fighting for? And is their love for their course good enough to compliment the level of violence that has been committed over the last decade.

How about you, do you think violence when you think love?

E – Evil

When I think of evil, many times I just add the letter “d” at the beginning to make it “devil”. Sometimes I feel sorry for the devil because of the amount of blame that he gets {i know some of you think I am too gentle, and that the devil is as bad as it gets.. he is so evil}. I know. But who do we blame more, the devil or love for the evils we commit. Not being overly political, but dictators are probably the closest imaginations we can get of evil. Or random individuals that we’ve never heard of, who show up with bizarre d “evilish” acts like… hmmm the guy that killed because of love.

We could have been that guy that shot his girlfriend because of love, or that killed his wife because of love, or that destroyed best friends because of love, or that lied to parents because of love, or that broke a family because of love, or that broke a marriage because of love, or that committed suicide because of love.

Is the above L.O.V.E truly reminiscent of what true love is about? Do you agree with the meanings of L.O.V.E, or are you holding on tightly to your own meaning of love?

What category of reaction do you fall in, 1, 2, or 3. Scroll back to the beginning to see the categories.

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