What is love?

The words love, like, desire and lust are often used as synonyms. They are not the same. we may like or desire a certain sport, a kind of food or a make of automobile. We may desire or lust for power, prestige, money, drugs, alcohol or sex. Often like, desire or lust are used synonymously. Love is something quite different.

The definition of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NRV). "Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up."

This definition is given by the source of all real love. When I do premarital counseling or perform weddings, these verses are emphasized. The greatest verses on love are John 3:16 and 15:13. The first has to do with God giving His Son. The second refers to the Son giving His own life for all of us.

Most of us who are older can remember when fathers, mothers, husbands and wives would do almost anything that was necessary to care for their children. I can recall a few incredible sacrifices made by some parents and spouses when we were children. Yes, there were conflicts and abuses, but seldom did we see the kind of behavior that has become so prevalent today.

Certainly our homes, churches and schools can do better in teaching about the real meaning of love. We should not forget that the one who created humans in His own image is love (I John 4:8 ". . . God is love"). We love by making a decision and practicing that decision. Yes, good times and bad times are part of life, but love hangs in there.

For the 2010 Club, Nov. 28 takes us to Ezekiel 40 and 1 Peter 5.

Have a good week of thanksgiving, love and joy.

Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul's Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.