Life Lessons: What Does Love Look Like?
I have been around people who seem like loving is just an innate gift that they share easily with others. For me, it's not always so clear. This month, I had an invitation to an important event and for a variety of reasons the invitation stirred a counterfeit love approach.
Have you ever had that struggle of love inside of you? Does how you wish to express your love for someone go down a path that is more hurtful than helpful?
This response usually happens when we love the person but don't love what they are doing. For some of us, we feel a need to withdraw our love so they know our disapproval. In trying to help them, we cut them down with remarks or acts that hurt rather than help the situation.
I've been trapped in that cycle lately. My heart and mind have been at war trying to figure out what love is and how to adequately show that love when the situation is not what I deem ideal. I don't know what exactly this emotion is called, but it is not love. For me, it is the counterfeit of love. I definitely do love the person, which is why I care, and why I can't just walk away from the situation, but my suggested responses aren't acts that share this love with that person. So...is it really love?
Ironically, in the midst of these questions, I stumbled across this account shared from Jack H. Goaslind:
A good friend shared a story about how she learned the deeper meaning of love. Her parents had always been active in [their] Church, trying their best to live the commandments. they were shocked and disappointed, however, when their daughter became engaged to someone not of their faith.
The next day the mother was telling a good friend about her feelings. She knew her daughter's finance was a fine young man, but she felt angry, hurt, betrayed, and numb and did not want to give her daughter a wedding or even see her. She said that the Lord must have guided her to talk to her friend because she received this reply: "What kind of mother are you that you only love her when she does what you want her to do? That is selfish, self-centered, qualified love. It's easy to love children when they are good; but when they make mistakes, they need our love even more. We should love and care for them no matter what they do. It doesn't mean we condone or approve of the errors, but we help, not condemn; love, not hate; forgive, not judge. We build them up rather than tear them down; we lead them, not desert them. We love when they are the most unlovable, and if you can't or won't do that, you are a poor mother."
With tears streaming down her face, the mother asked her friend how she could ever thank her. The friend answered, "Do it for someone else when the need arises. Someone did it for me, and I will be eternally grateful."
For me, this was a key insight I needed. It has made all the difference as I have approached my situation.
So what about you? What does love look like to you, especially when you love a person but have differences toward a situation? At those times, what does love look like?