My best friend always says to me “Love is a Choice.” I reflected on his comment as I thought about all my past relationships (romantic, familial, friendly and professional). I came to realize when we make choices, we are revealing what is important to us. So many people tend to make their choices based upon self-serving interest which I believe is a natural reaction. We instinctively lean towards self-preservation. Yet, what I find more disturbing is a lack of awareness or consciousness of why we make the choices we make. Folks tend to go the path of least resistance by either a “follow the leader” or a “whatever happens, happens” mentality to their relationships. To top it off, many of us really don’t know what love is. For me, the best definition is:
Love endures long and is patient and kind;
Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride);
It is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.
Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it.
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection, but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith–conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope–joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love–true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
When you read this passage, it gives a very clear definition of love. It is a checklist for me to gauge the quality of my relationships. However, people are confused about what love is because society promotes a contradictory message. This message consists of being impatient, arrogant, demanding, unforgiving, intolerant and self-absorbed. And it is marketed daily to us as what is sexy, hip and successful. Then we wonder why friendships breakdown, romantic relationships break up and families fall apart. And I am not immune to it. There are several friend and family relationships that suffered because I did not choose love.
I also realized that you must have the courage to choose love. Love usually involves sacrifice. Nowadays, no one is willing to sacrifice for the greater good at their expense. When you look at individuals who had the courage to love, most of them were willing to sacrifice their lives. Dr. King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, and the list goes on of individuals who were willing to sacrifice because they knew it would fulfill a greater purpose bigger than themselves. Let’s make it personal. Who has sacrificed for you? My parents immediately come to mind. The long work hours, the willingness to make do, so I could have more. They were willing to sacrifice to give my siblings and me a better life. This can only be done through love.
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite songs. When I think about a love song, I always think about Musiq’s beautifully written song “Love.”
So remember in your thoughts, words, actions and deeds, have the courage to choose love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!