by Natalie Yuhas
I love macaroni and cheese. I also love your shoes. My family is awesome and I really love them too. The word is thrown around all the time in our society: love. Although we use the word all the time, you don’t have to be an angsty teenager to be confused about what love really is. Novels, poems, plays, songs, and movies alike have been trying to figure out and explain what love is for hundreds of years, and I can assure you it means more than just really enjoying a nice bowl of mac and cheese. I’m only 19 years old. I’m definitely no love expert, but I do know that it is one of the greatest things mankind exhibits and is a central theme of the Gospels. I have compiled a list of quotes that have helped me think about and process what it means to truly love.
Mark 12:30-31 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love isn’t saved just for that special someone. Love also isn’t saved for just the people who believe the same things as us, like the same things as us, or for the people we get along with. When God calls us to love our neighbors, He calls us love everybody: our friends, our enemies, people who are similar to us, people who are different than us, everyone. It’s a simple message: love your neighbors.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” CS Lewis
No one can say it better than Mr. Lewis himself. To love is to give of yourself. People make mistakes all the time, and we are inevitably going to be hurt by people in our lives because we open ourselves up to them, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on love. Forgive others and don’t close your heart off to love.
1 Corinthians 13: 3-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
“Love hurts.” That’s not true. Rejection and disappointment hurt, but the Bible says that these things are not love. We often confuse other things for love, especially on a campus that is so focused on a hook-up culture of lust rather than love. Love is more than lust, and it is more than some of the toxic relationships we involve ourselves in. Relationships that are self-centered, controlling, or disrespectful are not centered in love.
John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Love is a sacrifice. God gave His only Son to the world, who in turn gave up His life on the Cross all because of love. Love is unconditionally caring about another person, even when it’s not easy to do so. Sometimes our sacrifice is giving up something that hurts the person we love. Sometimes it’s giving up one of our nights for something that is really important to another person, and sometimes it’s as simple as giving someone your last French fry.
Although Love is difficult to define and the world often makes love seem complicated, the message of love is truly simple: unconditionally care for others.