Friday, November 1, 2013

What is Love?

In September, I addressed the question Where is the love?  Really before we answer that question rightly, we must first pose the question what is love?  Perhaps you remember the old Saturday Night Live rendition with Jim Carrey and his friends at a Night at the Roxbury.  These three head bob weaving men find themselves at a club looking for love in all the wrong places.  The saddest part of it these three men don't really understand what true love is.  And once given the opportunity to express love, these men quickly turn their suitors away.  Granted, it is funny to watch these three stooges dance themselves out of a partner.  But what is not funny is that these men actually represent many real people in our society who think they will find love without actually taking the time to get to know the person they find themselves with.  Dancing with someone you just met at a club and calling it falling in love couldn't be further than the truth.  For all you know, you may have just danced with a mass murderer.  In fact, it is only in spending time with another person that you develop what is known as trust in a relationship.

In 1995 (a few years before the SNL skit got popular), Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages.  In the book, Chapman lists five ways to express and experience love:

Quality Time
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

Chapman says we often have different primary and secondary ways that we like to both give and receive love.  So, for example, in that the primary love language you might like to show your love to another may be in giving gifts, the primary love language you might like to receive love may be something entirely different such as physical touch.  Thus, these are not things you learn overnight about another person but rather over time.  Chapman adds that it is important that we not automatically give the love language we like receiving the most but rather give the language that our mate prefers. After reading the book, Mindy Meier suggested food as a sixth love language.  I think that makes sense when you consider the time it takes to make a meal and the benefits that come from experiencing fellowship together through sharing a meal.

The analogies are endless.  Men are from Mars, are like dogs, are like microwaves, and are like waffles and Women are from Venus, are like cats, are like crock pots, and are like spaghetti may all be true to an extent (buy the books) but we must first remember the verse found in I John 4:8 that says, "Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love (read the bible).  I believe that!  Without first possessing a relationship with Jesus Christ, it is impossible to know or experience true love.  Local Pastor J.D. Greear puts it this way, "only knowing the love of God for you produces the love of God in you.  Are you staking God's love for you in the finished work of the cross that happened nearly 2000 years ago?  If so, then and only then can you begin to answer the question of how you genuinely desire to express and receive love yourself?  What are your primary love languages?

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