“Is love a fancy, or a feeling? No.”
This line from Hartley Coleridge’s Sonnet VII is the basic sum of what I’d like to write about today.
Although some forms of love include feelings and fancies, they are not true love. Love in its purest form goes far beyond feelings and fantasies.
My favorite example of true love is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” From this passage, we learned that love, at the very least, is incredibly selfless. There’s another verse that sums that up pretty tightly. Here, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) You’re probably thinking, “Great. In order to truly love someone I have to die?” Well, that’s not necessarily literal. Dying means death, yes, but in this sense it means sacrificing your life for others on a daily basis. Essentially, putting others first.
In fact, God literally created all of His laws based off of sacrificial love. He says so here: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
My second favorite example is Shakespeare’s 116th sonnet. As much as I’d love to quote the whole sonnet right now...I’m not going to. But here are some key passages from it; “Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.”
So now you’re probably thinking, “Please speak actual English, Damaris.” And I hear you, I do. Let me break down those lines for you. Those first two lines, in plain English, say “love isn’t love if it changes when it finds change” which I take to mean that true love doesn’t fizzle out when love’s object gains weight, or is cast into depression, or becomes deathly ill, or loses all of their wealth and fame. Love remains steady through all of the ups and downs. And the rest of those lines play off of it.
Very simply put, love is commitment, and love is selfless.
Another key aspect of love is a lack of fear of loss. For instance, love doesn’t fear confrontation. Love faces problems and disagreements, not fearing to lose the object of its difference. There’s a verse that explains this much more concisely than I can. “Don’t secretly hate any of your neighbors. But tell them openly what they have done wrong so that you will not be just as guilty of sin as they are.” (Leviticus 19:17) Essentially, love points out sin and wrong, unafraid of losing a relationship. Love does NOT stay silent for the sake of comfort or false security.
But again, there is a verse that says “Love covers a multitude of sin.” (1 Peter 4:8) So while love cannot overlook sin, it still leaves plenty of room for grace and forbearance.
Now, I want to talk about love as the world today sees it.
My generation lives in such a way that holds firmly to the false ideology that love is, in fact, a fancy and a feeling. Love is used synonymously with lust, and that lust is more than fulfilled. It is burned out and overused, leaving my fellow youth a cold, burned-out shell.
“Free love!” My people demand it. They will have nothing less than the legal freedom and glorification of lust in every possible color and form. And the people behind the LGBTQ+ movement are doing everything in their power to make sure that that happens. For what? For a moment of physical pleasure? For fleeting glory and the ability to raise your fingers and say “We did it! We made love free!”? What will that gain for you when all is said and done? You will still be empty. You will still feel uncomfortable in your own skin. You will still feel judged and wrong. Why, you may ask?
Because that isn’t love. No, Honey; it isn’t love. It’s lust. And lust only makes an empty heart even more hollow and empty than it was before.
Passion is an all-consuming fire that rages and burns, but all too soon it is faded out, leaving you even more hopeless than you originally were. Is it worth it? Is ten minutes of ecstasy worth a lifetime of regret and confusion? Is it?
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17) Turn from the lust of the world. Immerse yourself in true love: selfless, committed love for those around you.
Love is pure, unadulterated kindness. So please, don’t just use “always be kind” as an empty mantra that makes you look good in front of your friends. BE kind. Live and breathe kindness. Live and breathe love.
Love is wasted when spent only on oneself. Remember that.
“Is love a fancy, Or a feeling? No.”