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Love’s Essence

Shiny boxes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, crimson roses—Valentine’s Day! I like to call it “Love Day” because I believe it shouldn’t just be limited to those in romantic relationships; it’s a day to celebrate with those we deeply care about. Everyone has a secret love language, and Valentine’s Day is definitely the perfect time to show others appreciation. Sure, it’s a fun holiday that may be a bit commercialized, but regardless of your love language, who doesn’t love gifts? Dinner out and a box of powdered truffles are a sure way to win me over! But love doesn’t always necessarily mean receiving gifts in shiny packages. Love can be expressed or defined in a multiple of ways.

When you ask someone what love is, you’ll almost always receive a different answer. According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of love is “a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another.” I must admit, I found this description somewhat unsatisfying. It sounds logical enough, but it lacks a human component. Interested in a more personal approach, I conducted a survey asking people to define love in their own words. These are several of my favorite responses: 

“Love is the universal language of the heart that brings us together. We all understand it and can’t live without it.”

“Love prays. Love forgives. Love is your presence when someone is hurting. Love is a willing sacrifice. Love gives freedom.”

“Love is putting self aside and calming your inner expectations. It is holding onto that which is positive, and giving grace in the face of challenges. Love is only four letters; it rolls off the tongue easily enough, but it is more of a lifetime of learning and action.”

The reason love can be defined in numerous ways is because it’s based on personal life experience. Compared to the dictionary’s definition, it was interesting to see the depth in some of the personal responses I received. Love is about commitment and a connection that ties us to another person. It’s a fuzzy, four-letter word that makes us feel valuable and priceless in the eyes of those we care for. Although the dictionary defined our term, adding some personal experience and reflection created a much more meaningful description. 

God gives us an even greater definition of love. In Romans 5:8 He says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” For me, this verse is the definition of love because even in our worst state, He’d die for us all over again. Christ’s love is not conditional or temporary; it’s everlasting. The dictionary defines love, people personalize love, but God guarantees love. 

As you think about love, I hope you’ll also dwell on the more spiritual aspect, and about what your definition of love looks like.

Madeleine Temple-Lowe writes from Bloomington, Indiana.

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About Madeleine Temple-Lowe

Madeleine Temple-Lowe

writes from the midwest.

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